I have a confession: I’m nearly fifty-five, and my favorite movie is a cartoon (a Pixar “animated feature,” to be exact). Inside Out was the first movie I ever watched that made me want to find out all I could about the author and director (Pete Docter). It was the first movie that made me want to have my picture taken at Disney World with its main characters, Joy and Sadness.
An eleven-year-old girl’s emotions are the stars in this incredibly insightful story, which challenges Joy’s assumption that the child “just needs to be happy.” Joy eventually comes to realize that there is more to a meaningful life than simply fun and games.
Many people are like Joy. They seek fulfillment in anything that makes them happy, only to find that it’s all an illusion. My heart breaks for those people.
God is real, and He wants to be known. A personal, intimate relationship with God brings joy and peace, no matter the circumstances. We don’t have to understand what is going on around us, because the peace of God passes understanding (Phil. 4:7).
Corrie ten Boom experienced the horrors of a concentration camp during World War Two. She suffered under some of the worst conditions imaginable. Later, she described life at Ravensbruck as existing on two separate levels: the physical life grew more horrible every day, but the spiritual life, the life they lived in God, grew better every day, “truth upon truth, glory upon glory” (The Hiding Place).
The problem is that most people don’t develop (or even desire) a relationship with God. They pray for things because they want things. They see God as a provider, but not as a companion. They seek satisfaction in other things, but nothing else satisfies.
God tells us to “grow up” in Christ (Eph. 4:15). When a child is born, his relationship to his parents is the same as when he is grown, but as he grows, he gets to know them better (ideally). The same is true in our relationship with God. If we never grow up in Christ, if we always view Him as merely the supplier of our needs, we will miss the intimacy that He wants us to have with Him: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Peter 1:8).
Those who think a “good God” would make sure that life is smooth sailing make the same mistake that Joy made in Inside Out. God wants so much more for us than an easy ride. He wants to give us Himself.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).