I can’t tell you how many times in my life my dad has called me to tell me that The Wizard of Oz was on TV. “Are you watching?” he asks me every time. And then he asks me how many times is it that I have seen this movie? I have no exact answer to his query, but I can safely say that between the DVD that I own and the TV showings, I have probably now seen it 30 or 35 times.
Based on the 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum, the 1939 fantasy adventure is a movie I have always loved. I love the munchkins, the black-and-white that magically turns to color in Oz, the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) who I always used to pretend was a relative because my mom is a Bolger, the horses that change color, the whispered squeak of Tin Man when he attempts to say oil, the melting witch. I love it all. I know the script by heart.
My favorite line in the whole movie is when Scarecrow says goodbye to Dorothy and tells her that he knows he has a heart because he feels it breaking. The wizard (aka a Kansas-born balloonist named Marvel) then says to Scarecrow, “Just remember, my sentimental friend, that a heart is not measured by how much you love but by how much you are loved by others.” The adage elicits tears every time I hear it.
In the past two years, I’ve realized there is another line in the movie that speaks truth into my life and faith into my heart. The quaking quartet are standing before the animated image of the great and powerful Oz, attempting to speak to him, and he continues to berate and terrorize each of them. When Lion falls to the floor in a faint, Dorothy yells at the wizard, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself, frightening him like that, when he came to you for help.”
The wizard’s voice booms out, “SILENCE, Whippersnapper! The beneficent Oz has every intention of granting your requests.”
The music changes key and floats skyward. Trembling is calmed by four timid smiles fixed in wonder.
Oohh. I am listening to this line for perhaps the 35th time; but I am hearing, really hearing these words for the first time. Through ears that have heard, “You have stage 4 lung cancer.”
The Wizard of Oz will give them courage, a heart, a brain, and a trip home.
For 27 months, I have come to God for help in the same way Dorothy and her trio of friends came to the wizard for help. I have pleaded with Him for help to cope with chemotherapy and its side effects, physical problems ranging from pleurisy to leg pain to vertigo to kidney stones that have assaulted me on a nearly daily basis. I have begged Him for help with fear and frustration and anxiety and with utter exhaustion from this entire yellow brick road trip they call metastatic cancer. More than anything else, I have asked, and asked again, for healing.
And my God has spoken to me in a voice louder than Professor Marvel’s.
He has said to me, “Be silent, daughter! Your beneficent God has every intention of granting your request.”
"What's that? What'd he say?" Lion sits up and takes heart. This wizard says he can give him some courage? Some genuine chutzpah? He can DO that?
What? What did God say?
He has every intention of granting my request.
Seriously? He can do that?
I weep at the promise.
I have trembled before the throne and have heard Him answer me. He will grant my request. Healing is mine. How do I know? It’s all in the Bible.
God honors faith (not hope); healing was the hallmark of Jesus’ ministry, therefore it is God’s will, since Jesus came to do God’s will on earth; Jesus tells me that whatever I ask in the name of Jesus, if I believe it will happen, I will have whatever I ask. Matthew confirms what the prophet Isaiah foretold, that Jesus took sickness as well as sin to the cross. My cancer was redeemed on
My Healer, my beneficent Healer, has every intention of granting my request.
“Bring me the broomstick of the Witch of the West and I will grant your request.”
Just as Tin Man, Lion, Scarecrow and Dorothy had a condition on their promise, so do I. I know God wants me to trust Him implicitly with my life. I know He wants me to rest in Him, feel His grace, hold fast to the truths in His Word, and stand on faith. Stand on the promise that I cannot feel, see or hear, but know is coming. Rebuke Satan in His name every time he tries to mess with my faith. Abide. Just abide in Him.
And wait for my deliverance.
He tells me neither the time nor place that my hot air balloon will land back in Auntie Em’s wheat field. But my faithful, compassionate, sovereign, amazing, beneficent Father God has every intention of granting my request.
And I don’t even need to melt a witch.