Written by members of the Obion County Ministerial Association
I just recently finished being involved with the Masquerade Theatre production of “The Wizard of Oz,” so I have had the events of this classic tale on my mind for the past 2 1/2 months. Now, some would just dismiss this as a children’s story, but as I have pondered the story, I think there are lessons there for people of all ages.
To remind you of the story, Dorothy Gale of Kansas is experiencing all sorts of trouble at home. Her guardians, Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, don’t seem to understand her, her friends on the farm give her advice they don’t follow in their own lives, and the meanest woman in the county is determined to have Dorothy’s dog, Toto, destroyed. At one point, Aunt Em suggests that Dorothy, “Find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble.” It is a quest for such a place that leads Dorothy to sing that memorable song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Dorothy subsequently runs away from the farm, gets caught in a tornado and ends up in Oz.
While there, she finds more trouble than she ever had back in Kansas and early on seeks a return to the life she left behind. Well, Dorothy’s got a lot of company; people are always looking for an escape from their troubles. They don’t go to Oz, but they immerse themselves in activities that only a wicked witch would find acceptable. They seek massive doses of idle leisure, substance abuse or just doing whatever it takes to feel good all the time in an effort to run away and hide from their troubles and their pain.
But I believe there is only one real source for us to turn to in times of trouble. And it isn’t the great and powerful Wizard of Oz; it is our Almighty God: “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” Psalm 9:9. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” Psalm 46:1.
So don’t wistfully look for some place “over the rainbow,” but find God right here where you are. And don’t take a journey down the Yellow Brick Road; instead, walk in the paths of righteousness that allow us to travel this life in good times and bad times supported by God.
Dr. David Russell
Union City First United Methodist Church
420 East Main St.