Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There’s a land that I’ve heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?
– “Over the Rainbow”, as performed by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
I remember the first time I watched “The Wizard of Oz”. As I recall, I was around nine years old…and I was mesmerized. From the moment Dorothy Gale leaned against a hay bale and began daydreaming about that proverbial “somewhere” over the rainbow, I longed to see how her story would end. Would she find what she was looking for? Or would she always wear that sad, faraway look on her face? I had to find out. So I sat there – glued to the screen – and drifted into a magical world where scarecrows, tinmen, and lions could talk, where good witches scared off bad ones, and a yellow brick road led to a wizard that held the magic fix to all of life’s problems. While to this day I still love the imagery, acting, and storyline represented in this classic film, I have to admit that there was one thing that left me utterly disappointed…the wizard.
After what seemed like a good long while of hearing:
“We’re off to see the Wizard
The wonderful Wizard of Oz
We hear he is a whiz of a wiz
If ever a wiz there was
If ever, oh ever a wiz there was
The Wizard of Oz is one because
Because, because, because, because, because
Because of the wonderful things he does….”
…I guess you could say he really fell flat of my expectations. Whiz of a wiz? Hmmm….not really. All these wonderful things he supposedly did? Well, I’m still waiting! I was hoping this guy would be great and powerful like the song suggested…but he turned out to be more or less a fraud. Just an average guy behind a curtain…pretending to be great and powerful.
I did a little investigating and found out that “Oz” is actually an abbreviation that stands for gold. I found this amusing…remember that the idols that Israel worshipped were often fashioned of gold! How fitting for this fraudulent wizard to be known as the wizard of gold = a false god!
Consider Psalms 115:4-9:
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. O Israel, trust thou in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.
Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Lion were all seeking after the right things (a home, a brain, a heart, and the nerve), but they were trying to get them from the wrong source! Instead of seeking after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, they should have really been seeking after The Wonderful Wizard of Welkin. (Now, if you are familiar with my September 2016 article, The Wisdom of Welkin, then you know that the term “Welkin” is a synonym for Heaven.) Therefore, The Wonderful Wizard of Welkin is none other than the Lord Himself!
The Wizard of Oz may disappoint, but The Wizard of Welkin will never disappoint. Today, let each of us transport our minds to a certain yellow brick road, accompanied by a scarecrow, a tinman, and a lion. Only rather than setting off to see The Wizard of Oz, we will set off to see the The Wonderful Wizard of Welkin…
1. He Will Give You A Brain
Oh, I could tell you why the ocean’s near the shore. I could think of things I never thunk before. And then I’d sit, and think some more! I would not be just a nuffin’, my head all full of stuffin’, my heart all full of pain. I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry if I only had a brain…
In The Wizard of Oz, Scarecrow wants a brain more than anything in the world. His search is a search for wisdom.
The Scarecrow: That’s the trouble. I can’t make up my mind. I haven’t got a brain – only straw.
Dorothy Gale: How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?
The Scarecrow: I don’t know. But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?
Proverbs 4:7 tells us that “wisdom is the principle thing“, and urges us to “get wisdom, and with all our getting, get understanding“. Scarecrow’s love and longing for wisdom is half the battle. We know from Proverbs 1:7 that “fools despise wisdom and instruction“, but here we see a fellow who is actively seeking to be wise…
For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
– 2 Corinthians 8:12
- Do you and I have willing minds?
- Are we daily seeking to be wise?
- Furthermore, are we seeking our wisdom from The Wizard of Oz, or The Wizard of Welkin?
There is a big difference between the false wisdom of the world, and the true wisdom from above. We read in James 3:15 that there is an earthly “wisdom“…one that is “sensual and devilish“. Yet we know that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19). We as Christians ought rather to be seeking “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (that is to say, Jesus – Ephesians 1:17)
Where can we get this wisdom? Certainly we will not receive it from the teachers of this world, with whom religious truth is sadly becoming obsolete! No…to receive the wisdom that is from above, we must make time to read the word of God – His Bible. The scriptures “are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a book worth reading! If salvation is found in the scriptures, then doesn’t it stand to reason that we ought to be immersing ourselves in them?
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. – Psalms 119:99-100
- Take time each day to learn something new about God. Bible study doesn’t mean that we’re reading 30 chapters a day, and it doesn’t mean that we’re getting in our bibles just to cross it off our mental checklists. What it does mean is that we are daily learning something that will help us to better understand the character of our Lord, or instruct us on how to be better people. Some days this might mean reading one verse, or some days it might mean reading 100 verses…but for crying out loud, get in His word!
- Challenge yourself by studying up on a topic you’re unsure about. Maybe you’ve always wanted to know if children are or are not born sinless, or whether or not baptism is essential for salvation, or if gambling is or is not a sin. Whatever the topic, don’t wait to hear it from someone else – go to the source and study it out for yourself! Be like the Berean Jews who “were more noble…and searched the scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so” (from Acts 17:11).
- Make sure you are not forsaking the assembly. Stay true and faithful to the body of Christ! I can not express to you the many things I have learned from sitting under a seasoned preacher that I would not have otherwise thought of on my own. We need a preacher to help direct our minds (Romans 10:14). We also need other Christians, for the varied wisdom we gleam from one another is immeasurable (Proverbs 27:17).
There is no need to say “if I only had a brain”. Study your scriptures, and The Wonderful Wizard of Welkin will give you one!
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. – James 1:5
What would you do with a brain if you had one? – Dorothy Gale
2. He Will Give You A Heart
When a man’s an empy kettle he should be on his mettle, and yet I’m torn apart. Just because I’m presumin’ that I could be kinda human if I only had a heart…
In The Wizard of Oz, the Tinman wanted a heart more than anything in the world. His search was a search for love.
Once we begin to learn the wisdom of God, we will then be able to learn the love of God. Love without wisdom is worldly folly. Yet on the other hand, wisdom without love is cold and cruel. We need both wisdom and love as children of God. In fact, love is the characteristic by which we might be known as true Christians (1 John 3:14).
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. – Colossians 3:14
- Show love to others by looking at yourself through their eyes. Are you constantly criticizing your husband or children? Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what it’s like to be put down all the time. Do you have a judgmental, self-righteous attitude that makes others feel uncomfortable? Try to imagine what it’s like to walk on eggshells, always worrying about needlessly offending someone. Are you self-centered and talk too much? Try to imagine what it’s like to have to listen to someone drone on and on about themselves. Looking at ourselves through the eyes of another does wonders on changing our perspective.
- Show love to others by being sacrificial. When someone needs you, don’t play the martyr by acting like they’re really putting you out. That doesn’t make people feel loved…it makes them feel like a burden! As much as possible, be willing to be there for others and let them know that they can always count on you to be there for them. For example, if your husband asks you for something (even if you just sat down) get on your feet, smile, and get him what he needs. Don’t sigh…don’t say “I can’t do everything around here!”…swallow your pride, act like Jesus, and be a servant. (Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves – Philippians 2:3)
- Show love to others by continually beseeching God on their behalf. This doesn’t necessarily mean praying that God would up and heal all their infirmities (for that is not always for the best) but it does mean talking to God about others and petitioning for His will to be done in their lives. When people are sick, pray that their physical bodies would serve as a teacher for spiritual things…that through their sickness they might learn how to be more Heaven-minded. When people are going through trying times, pray that they might be strengthened with godly resolve to see through to the end. When people are peachy keen, pray that they would still continue to seek God in their days. Pray for the things that truly matter!
There is no need to say “if I only had a heart”. Practice love even when you don’t feel like it, and God will give you a heart.
A sound heart is the life of the flesh… – Proverbs 14:30a
3. He Will Give You The Nerve
It’s sad, believe me, missy, when you’re born to be a sissy…without the vim and verve. But I could show my prowess (be a lion, not a mowess) If I only had the nerve…
In The Wizard of Oz, the Lion wanted the nerve more than anything in the world. His search was a search for courage.
Wisdom, by necessity, brings forth love. Love, by necessity, brings forth courage. Godly love provokes us to be courageous.
The Cowardly Lion: Look at the circles under my eyes, I haven’t slept in weeks!
The Tin Woodsman: Why don’t you try counting sheep?
The Cowardly Lion: That doesn’t do any good, I’m afraid of them!
The Cowardly Lion has a problem many of us have: the fear of sheep. By sheep, I mean people (all we like sheep have gone astray – from Isaiah 53:6). The love of God causes us to be courageous, but the love of the world causes us to be afraid. Afraid of offending people…afraid of what others might think or do if we share the truth with them…afraid because a righteous life condemns those that we love who are living in sin. We must rise above our fears and do the right thing regardless.
Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the Lord do that which is good in His sight. – 1 Chronicles 19:13
Dorothy Gale: Are you gonna stand around and let ’em fill us full of horror?
The Cowardly Lion: I’d like to roar ’em down, but I think I lost my roarer.
We can’t let fear paralyze us. The only way to gain courage is by facing the very fears that haunt us.
- When stepping out in courageous teaching, it’s okay to start small. Yet it’s important to start, period! Are you afraid of public speaking? Face your fears by speaking in front of a small group of ladies, and then work your way up to a larger group! Are you afraid of talking one-on-one to others about God? Practice on children you come in contact with, and then work your way up to adults! Are you afraid of confronting someone about their sin? Write them a short (but heartfelt) letter and see how they respond.
(The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. – Hebrews 13:6b)
- Knowledge of God’s word helps us to be courageous about lifestyle changes. When people ask about the changes that you may be making in your life, being able to show that you are backed up in God’s word for your choices is going to strike far more confidence in you than saying “I just felt convicted”. Don’t be afraid to let God’s word have the final say! If that’s not “good enough” for your friends and family, it might be time to reevaluate the company you are keeping.
- If you’re afraid of not being popular because you share truth, remember that in many ways Jesus was unpopular. His teachings grated against everything that the society around Him held dear. Naturally, this resulted in some serious backlash. Not much has changed over the years…the world still hates truth, and that’s not going to be changing. It’s time to decide who’s side you want to be on come judgment day! (Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. – 1 John 3:13)
There is no need to say “if I only had the nerve”. Step out in courage, and God will give you the nerve!
What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! – The Cowardly Lion
At some point in our lives, we have all been in the place of the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Lion. We have all been hung up with no brain, rusted with no heart, and immobilized with no nerve. All have the same problem – they go nowhere. It is vital to have all three elements in our lives (brain, heart, nerve)…without one of these our whole character collapses. Without a brain, we may be kind and courageous…but have no wisdom on how to properly implement these qualities. Without a heart, we may be wise and courageous…but have no kindness to draw others to Christ. Without the nerve, we may be wise and kind…but never have the courage to reach out in the first place.
To become a woman that has all three qualities in spades, we must be certain we know where to look. With the Wonderful Wizard of Welkin, we can cut the cheap tricks and forget the phony man behind the curtain. With him, there are no gimmicks or false fronts. He is truly the answer to our problems.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear [cowardly lion], but of power and of love [tinman] and of a sound mind [scarecrow]. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Let us press on to our very own “somewhere over the rainbow” (that is to say, Heaven)…for there truly is “no place like home”.
For God’s Glory,
Chelsea Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.