“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
My kids had no school on Veteran’s Day last week. As a special treat, we had a leisurely morning. They watched TV in one room, while I sat in another: my feet up, hot coffee and oatmeal by my side, and my Bible and journal open on my lap. However, the TV kept creeping into my reflection time. So I put in earplugs. Regardless, I could still hear the cartoons in the background, and I was greatly distracted.
Lots of times that’s how I come to my prayer time: unfocused, chaotic, easily distracted. I try to forge ahead, reading the day’s scripture readings, trying so hard to focus and connect with God. But that day I was losing the battle big time to the Disney Channel!
When it comes to TV, my kids are pros at working the remote. They’ve got the system down: on the weekends and on special holidays, they go straight to On Demand programming where each of them gets to pick a show that they all watch together. Jocelyn usually picks Doc McStuffins, a super cute cartoon where a little girl named “Doc” brings toys to life. In each episode, a different toy has an issue: a fear, an ailment, a broken part. But the toy is always hiding its brokenness, trying to deny it, more comfortable with the shortcomings it has than the unknown process it will take to return to wholeness. To coax them into revealing their issues, Doc sings a sweet little song:
What’s going on.
Tell me what’s wrong.
I know there’s something we can do.
It might not be clear and that’s why I’m here.
Tell me what’s bothering you.
Got something on your mind,
Don’t keep it inside.
You’re gonna be fine.
Hey, tell me what’s wrong.
What’s going on.
As I sat in the other room, trying so hard to block the TV and everything else out so I could hear God, that song refused to be tuned out. It made itself heard through my resistance, even through my ear plugs.
They say that God can speak to us through anything: other people, a beautiful landscape, a tragedy, you name it. But I never expected to hear God through a song sung by a cartoon character on the Disney Channel! But I realized that the words of that song are exactly the words God would speak to all of us if He were sitting across the room from us.
He wants to hear it all. He wants us to share our burdens with Him; He wants us to tell Him what’s on our minds, what is bothering us – no matter how great, selfish, trivial, or insurmountable the issues may seem to us. He also wants to help us get to a place of wholeness, but He can’t do that if we don’t ask Him to. All those toys on Doc McStuffins think their issues can’t be fixed, or that the fixing is going to hurt too much. As the viewers, we wish our issues could be so simple. But as simple as the toys’ issues seem to us, our issues seem to God. He created us; He created the world; He created the cosmos and all the intricacies therein. If He could do all of that, He can most certainly fix our problems, no matter the size or difficulty.
Sometimes, too, all we need is to be heard. We’re smart people who can eventually figure a lot of our own issues out by ourselves. But as we’re going through them, we need to be heard, seen, and supported. Who better to listen to us than God! He knows our back stories. He knows the degree to which we are suffering without us going into lots of detail. He’s right beside us all the time, willing and ready to help. Prayer just opens us up to that awareness.
The Doc McStuffins show always ends with the toys feeling and being better than ever before because of Doc’s loving touch. The song at that point goes:
I feel better, so much better.
Thank you, Doc, for taking the ouches away!
I didn’t feel so good ’til you fixed me like I knew you would.
And I feel better, so much better now…
I don’t know about you, but whenever I take my issues to God and trust that He’s there for me, I feel the exact same way: His loving touch always makes me feel better!
Who knew that there could be such profound wisdom in children’s programming?
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