Can it be a dream?
Surely it must seem like a frightful dream.
How can this be true?
“It is different in India,” said Mistress Mary disdainfully. She could scarcely stand this.
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
I have been thinking about scene changes this weekend. As a stand-in at rehearsal, I was in my assigned spot singing and realized that I could feel the set shifting close behind me. I knew it had changed, but I didn’t know to what because it isn’t fully completed yet. Talk about a metaphor for life! So often we are just going along with our day and there comes an unexpected shift, a surprising change. It can be a drastic tragedy like Mary Lennox experiences – death of a loved one, a divorce, a devastating health prognosis. Or frequently, it is something more gradual. Our boss has an inexplicable shift in attitude toward us. A friend quits calling. Our child enters a new stage of life. Our house goes silent.
I’ve gotten a couple of disorienting phone calls in the last few weeks as both of my sons have had car accidents. One called me himself with a tone of deep responsibility and sadness about wrecking my car. The other call, however, was from a hospital over 2 hours away. When a stranger’s voice on the other end of the line told me that my child had been in an accident, the room seemed to spin. Thankfully, neither of my boys was seriously injured. Yet, when I was sitting in church a few days after that more serious accident, I realized I could have been sitting at my child’s funeral service.
When unexpected things happen, we often wake up the next day thinking, “Did that really happen or was that just a dream?” Leann was giving our Marys direction on Friday during the staging of the Final Storm. She told them that this was the moment when they really remembered what happened on that tragic night of the party in India when everyone died of the cholera. She told them to run to each person, trying to get their attention, trying to make some kind of connection. No one is able to help her, but in the midst of all that chaos there is the moment when the scene changes again. A light shines in the darkness and Mary is guided to the garden door.
As people of God, we are not immune to the drastic changes that even an hour in this world can bring to us. Yet, we can have hope as sojourners in this land. We see this in scripture when Moses tells Joshua to take the people into the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert. Deuteronomy 3:18 says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
I am thankful that we have that promise, because I have often had to cling to it in moments of unexpected change. It reminds me that scenes shift, but our Savior does not.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17