The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
December 16, 1990
1) Somewhere UNDER the Rainbow (Tom Edwards)
Somewhere UNDER the Rainbow
by Tom Edwards
Last night I watched John Ritter play the part of L. Frank Baum, the
man who has been noted as writing the first novel for children. It was
a touching story and perhaps dear to all who watched it, especially to
those who had seen in their younger days Judy Garland playing the part
of young Dorothy in the movie version of this unprecedented novel.
Baum was portrayed as a gentle and caring man who seemed to have a
special interest in providing children
with his fairytale-like
stories. Last night's movie, entitled The Dreamer of Oz, was
actually a biographical profile of this highly optimistic and,
therefore, enthusiastic writer who
had a great fervor toward his writings and seeing them in print, even
though publisher after publisher had denied
him the opportunity of publication.
It was heartwarming to see the various incidents and to hear the
different short stories which he shared with the children that later
became a part of his first in the series of the Oz books.
Young Dorothy had actually been his niece whom he lived with for a
while when he and his family moved out West to share a home with his
sister-in-law. She was a charming, little girl; but died while
still very young.
Even during her sickness, she had enjoyed listening to her Uncle Frank
as he would tell his stories about the land of Oz; and this seemed to
be one of her greatest pleasures.
While on her deathbed, her uncle tenderly shared with her a new twist
to his story: it was not a little boy at all, but a little girl who had
been hurled into that land of the Emerald City which he had been
telling her about; and that little girl's name was Dorothy. What a warm
and gentle smile this evoked from his young, enraptured listener.
Many of us have enjoyed the enchantment of this undying classic. Why,
though, is there an interest so many have in fantasy and fiction?
Why do many of us not only enjoy hearing of such, but have also given
ourselves over to the pursuit of writing our own worlds into existence?
I must say that I admire the creativity in L. Frank Baum to write such
stories even more so than the stories themselves. Are not these drives
of creativity a striving to be more like God Himself?
God is the ultimate in being creative in the literal and strictest
sense of the term. For it was He who not only made the worlds and the
stars, but He who also made every creature that walks upon, moves
below, or flies over the face of the earth, and that which swims within
the numerous bodies of water that cover our planet. Such a wide
variation from the plant kingdom to the animal kingdom, from the simple
one cell amoeba to the more involved and intricate complexities of the
higher forms of life, God has designed and brought into existence.
His story is called Reality and it is filled with concrete substance,
from the low valleys to the towering mountains; from the tiny flowers
to the large Redwoods; from the slender, shallow streams to the vast,
deep oceans; from inanimate objects to highly functioning life-forms;
with seasons and climates from scorching summer days to freezing winter
nights -- a reality that pulsates and attests to the need for the great
Maker and Life Giver.
In this story, God actually provides the binding of the book with its
elaborate front and back covers, and even a listing of all the
characters that have a role in this story; but many of the pages have
been left blank -- for since God gave man a free will, the story of
man's life upon this planet continually unfolds as he uses that
freewill in his day to day activities; and thus writes another page in
the story of Reality.
Do we ever find any creature in the animal kingdom that wants to be
like man the way man wants to be like God? The monkey sometimes likes
to imitate, but is that really out of a creative desire to be more like
humans or just a game of amusement, a method used in trying to
comprehend humankind, or just a simple mimicry?
Do animals manifest a desire to be artistic? Are they interested in
esthetic values? Is the sparrow concerned with how it can be a better
sparrow? Does it grapple with issues on how to raise its young? Does it
live according to an ethical standard that if violated pricks the
Out of all the creatures on earth, only man is attributed with being
created in the image of God. This is not to say that God necessarily
has two eyes, two ears, one nose, etc., for "God is Spirit"; and
"spirit" is that which can not be seen with mortal eyes -- only its
works or manifestations can be seen, like the tree which sways in the
invisible wind or the moving piece of metal that is drawn by an unseen
magnetical field. It is, therefore, the spirit (or soul) in man that is
his true essence and that which has been designed in the image of
The enchanting land of Oz captivated us in our youth and perhaps even
still it is a warm and worry-free thought; but the idyllic worlds that
men can only create in fiction, God is able to far exceed with a
reality that He has to offer.
Perhaps there was a time when yellow-brick roads appealed to us along
with Dorothy's dream-like land above the rainbow, but I just now
glanced at a scenic calendar in my office that displays a picture
wherein a dark blue ocean with its white bubbling foam is rushing onto
a beige-tinted beach, surging around the sharp, jutting rocks on the
shoreline, and hurling its foam and spray into the frisky wind. The
clouds are low and widely covering the endless sky, and one elongated
cloud rests serenely on the distant horizon, but even with all this
hovering fluffiness, the radiant sun has still found a way to beam its
numerous warm rays to the waiting world below -- and this is just the
world of the physical realm, a place for the Christian to temporarily
dwell before entering his eternal abode. Yet, God has filled it
with so much wondrous beauty; can we even begin to imagine the grandeur
of heaven and His creative-wonders there?
Books such as those by Baum allow us in our youth to engage in a
fascination that serves to stretch the imagination; and though this can
be entertaining or pleasurable, we can find even more fascination with
reality -- not the myth that the evolutionist presents, leading to an
animalistic view of mankind that denies the actuality of the soul nor
the often amoral world of the humanist nor the Christ-less world of the
atheist; but the real essence of reality that God Himself makes known
to us through His word. Who else should one go to in learning of
reality than the great First Cause who has made reality possible?
Unfortunately, God's intended reality for man is often avoided by those
who are simply not interested. Consequently, their indifference to God
has made the world drift farther from the truth; and they have built a
realm that is characterized by that which can be summed up in one word
-- Sin. Yes, the story that many men are writing in this book of
Reality is far from the story which God would like to see written; and
God had to, therefore, insert some of His own writings in order to make
it possible for a happy ending. Though the beginning cannot be
rewritten, we can still head for this better ending by being the
characters that God desires us to be. Then, and only then, will we be
living the most fulfilled lives possible. For what can fill the hearts
of mankind better and make each individual more complete than the
Spirit of God and all the divine attributes of that Spirit radiating
from one's inmost being?
Man's desire to be creative is but a small reflection of God's perfect
and ultimate creativity.
Some of our dreams will become actualities, but others will remain
beyond our power; with God though, all things are possible; and we
must, therefore, strive to better learn the specific role that the Lord
would like us to fulfill in the story of Reality, that we may become
characters in the Lord's sequel which is entitled Reality Part Two --
Enjoying Heaven's Glory Forevermore!
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
(Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
First published for the Tri-state church of Christ in Ashland,
Kentucky, at 713 13th Street.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards