We’re all familiar with the fairy tale Pinocchio. It’s about a lonely woodcarver who made a boy puppet. One night, the boy puppet is brought to life by a blue fairy. The woodcarver was very happy, because it seemed he was not going to be lonely anymore. But the “boy” had other plans. He wanted to be a real boy, not just a sideshow for others to gawk at. He didn’t like his nose growing when he told a lie. The puppet set off to find out how to become real, and takes some very hard knocks. He is used, taken advantage of, and finds himself changing into an animal—rather than the boy he dreamed of being. He runs farther and finds himself literally in the belly of a whale. At his darkest moment of his life, he finds he is not alone. The woodcarver is there. He had been searching for his lost creation all that time. They work together to escape and only then does the puppet change into a real boy.
I loved that story when I was little and I find it still speaks to me.
I hear the complaints, “When is it going to get better?”, “If I could only lose 10 more pounds!” or “If I could just get that other job!”, “Maybe I just need to have another baby.” We seek and we do not find. We ask with the wrong motives. (James 4:3) People seem to want that unreachable thing and once they get it, they find it’s not what they really desired.
We’re all on a quest to be “real”. Much like Pinocchio, we were made by a creator. No woodcarver, but a Master Craftsman: God. He created us out of dust. No blue fairies, but His own breath expanded our lungs and brought us to life. And from then on, we run away from His presence. We try to make something of ourselves. We were created for a purpose, for a relationship with our creator. The farther we run from that relationship, the farther we run from being Real. We try on different hats, we follow the crowd, we feed our hunger with the wrong foods or starve ourselves, we pump things into our bodies to create artificial highs or lows and still we wonder why we feel so wooden.
When we reach our lowest point, when we find ourself in the belly of the whale, we find we are not alone. Did you know that nothing separates us from the love of God in Christ Jesus? No person, place or thing can keep us from His love. No whale, no prison, no addiction, no wrong choice, no mental anguish, no person can keep us from Him. God sent His son to save us from ourselves. (Romans 8:31-39) All we have to do is quit running. And you’ll find He’s right there with you all the time.
Together with our creator, we build a fire that dispells the darkness of our soul. We find our Pinocchio life changes into a living, breathing thing. (Titus 3:5-7) And that sin that was as plain as the nose on your face? It’s gone along with the splinters and termites that your past life rewarded you with. Yes, you might scrape a knee now and then or get your heart stomped on, but isn’t it better than a life destined as kindling wood?