Friday, February 4, 2011

We're Off To See The Wizard, Because . . . ?

Reading novels and watching movies is something which has always brought a lot of joy to me in my life.  I love getting into a story, to learn and grow with the characters.  Many times, I think it seems their lives are so much more exciting than the life I have.  But then, now I think of it, my life has not been condensed into a few hundred pages or few hours.  The stories of each of our own lives really are something far more intricate and detailed than any book could completely tell.  But, what is the quest we have all embarked on?  Do all of us realize what our purpose here on earth is?  We aren’t slaying dragons, we aren’t saving the earth with our super powers, and we aren’t trying to find a wizard to send us home.  What is it we are doing?  What has God designed for us to accomplish, and how can we do it?

Many of the stories and adventures we read give us an example and have many parallels to our own lives and the things we need to do, although, I am not sure how many of these have been intended.  In particular, the classic story of The Wizard of Oz gives us a great example of some parallels in our own life.

In the beginning of the story, Dorothy is taken to the Land of Oz.  Although not entirely sure how she was able to get there, she knew where she needed to be.  Dorothy’s experience in the Land of Oz was not a permanent situation, much like us, we are all trying to find our way home.  Dorothy had the path paved for her; there was the yellow brick road which pointed the direction for her to go.  It wasn’t easy for Dorothy to follow the path, there was an evil witch chasing her providing obstacles along the way.  She met a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion, each who had a quest and need of their own.  They were all able to support and help each other in their journey.  They learned many things, including the reality of the “Wizard,” to support each other in the struggles they had, and how to overcome their own fears and doubts.  But, even after all Dorothy did and learned, she was still unable to make it all the way home.  She found herself powerless to continue where she wanted but was able to find the power outside of her through the ruby slippers.

As we start here on earth, we are the children of God.  He has sent us here to learn and grow.  Similar to Dorothy’s time in Oz, our time here on earth is not a permanent situation.   We are here as a temporary probation, and we all have a need and desire to return to live with God after this life.  We too have a path or yellow brick road for us to follow.  First and foremost, we can follow the gospel and example of Jesus Christ.  We can pattern our lives after what He has shown.  We have the scriptures to help us know how we can do this.  We can read, and learn, and apply the examples others give into our own lives.  Maybe most importantly, we have the Holy Ghost, as the Holy Ghost acts as a comforter and guide in our lives.  He teaches us the true things of God.  He brings comfort and peace to help us know when we are doing the things which are right.  He will “show unto [us] all things what [we] should do” –2 Nephi 32: 5.  We also have obstacles we encounter here on earth.  We find doubt and fear which try and drive away our faith.  We sin and fall short bringing into our lives discouragement.  Just as the characters in Oz were from Dorothy’s own family, God has also given us our families here on earth to support and help us, as we all work toward the same goal.

After the extent of our own efforts, we still end up short.  The journey we have is not without value.  We gain experience, we learn, we grow.  We learn to distinguish the right and the wrong.  We experience sorrow to know joy.  As we are able to gain these valuable insights and become more like God is, we are still unable to provide the power for ourselves to return to live with God.  We become unclean through the mistakes we make.  We would become harrowed with the guilt we feel, and the pain we find from others if it were not for Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ has provided the way for us to return to live with God.  He says “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” –John 14: 6. 

Although not quite like clicking our heals together, I do know we can return to live with God through Jesus Christ.  I know not only that, but I know that we can feel the power of Christ throughout our lives.  We can feel His encouragement as we are doing what is right, and we can find His forgiveness as we make mistakes.  He is our constant guide and support.  We have the Holy Ghost to testify of Christ in our lives, and to bring us the guidance we need.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is sent to us from God.  It has been restored to us in our day through living prophets.  I know God loves us, and always has.

I was inspired for this post after reviewing Elder Bednars talk from last conference.  I was particularly inspired as he compares the seeking of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion as a continual quest in our lives.

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