ONCE UPON A TIME
by David Sisler
Once upon a time. And they all lived happily ever after. That is all we demand from our fairy tales. Since September 11, I demand that even more.
We can all understand the story of the magic lamp and the genie who grants three wishes. Perhaps you’ve wondered what your three wishes would be. Money? Health? Happiness? Maybe something completely unselfish – although somewhere along the line each of us would probably ask for at least $1,000,000 – tax free.
I think you can understand the desires of a friend of mine who said, “I don’t know what Wish Number One or Wish Number Two would be. I’ve changed my mind frequently. But regardless of whatever I’d choose for those first two wishes, I have positively figured out Wish Number Three. With my third wish I’d ask for three more wishes!”
When I asked him to explain his reasoning, he very honestly said, “Because I have discovered that nothing completely satisfies. There always has to be something more. I need that one more wish!”
Dr. Darold Treffert, director of the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, calls it the “American Fairy Tale.” Dr. Treffert points out that it is not merely teenagers who believe the fairy tale. He also explains, very properly, that it is not merely an American fairy tale. It is an international fairy tale.
Explore the five points of the fairy tale, as elaborated by Dr. Treffert.
First, “the more things you possess, the greater your personal happiness.”
If that is true, Jesus was the most miserable person on earth. Do you remember the time he said, “The birds have nests, the foxes have holes, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head?”
Second, “the more a person produces, the more important that person is.”
Through the grace of God, radio and television ministers reaches around the world. That does not make what they do more important than the pastor who ministers each week to a congregation of 50. They simply have a different calling and therefore a different responsibility.
Third, “everyone must identify with and belong to a larger group.”
Jesus one day ministered to a man who had been born blind. The disciples asked, “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” Jesus said, “No one has sinned. This man has been born blind so that the glory of God may be seen in him.”
Can you imagine being in the singular position of being born blind so that for one moment in time, God might manifest His glory in you? With grace like that, to what other group would you aspire to belong?
Suppose you are confined to a wheel chair. You have very little mobility, very little opportunity outside of your own four walls. Right there, inside of your heart, is a place made just for Jesus. Can the two of you not be a group large enough?
Fourth, “perfect mental health means no problems.”
What about the prophet Jeremiah? He said, “Cursed be the day they came to my father and said, ‘You have a man child.”
What about the apostle Paul? “I was so hard pressed I despaired of living,” he wrote.
Fifth, “a person is abnormal unless he is constantly happy.”
One of the most vivid descriptions of Jesus is totally contrary to that idea: He was a man of sorrows and very personally acquainted with grief.
A teenager, disappointed with the fairy tale, wrote: “If I fail in what I do, I fail in what I am!”
According to God’s Word that is not true. If you fail in realizing who you are, you fail. You were created to glorify God with all of your life.
Once upon a time, they all lived happily ever after. If you place your confidence in Jesus, that is not a fairy tale. It is the greatest possible reality!
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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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