Sunday, May 4, 2014

On owning the wishing well and faith

We were in the land of Disney, the land of magic.

As we waited to board It’s a Small World, my son begged for money to throw in the water. “Can I make a wish mama? Please?” Sorry, bud, I don’t carry change. I almost lectured him about the silliness of throwing money away, but I refrained. We were at Disneyworld, after all.

Later that day, the little guy found a dime.

“Look mom! A dime! I can make a wish now!” He danced with glee, as only a five year old boy can.  He held that dime in his sweaty little hands during the bus ride and as we walked into the park.  All through the journey he chattered excitedly.  “I’m going to wish that I can fly! No, that the whole family can fly! Mom, maybe you should wish it for me. Wait, no, I’ll wish it. I’ll wish that I can fly. OH I want to FLY! I want all of us to fly!”

Daddy and I looked at each other, smiling, shrugging, not sure if we should temper his excitement or wait for reality to do that for us.  We waited.

Finally, the moment came. He closed his eyes, wished with all his heart, and threw his dime in the water.


He stared. He stomped. He crossed his arms.

He sulked for the entire ride.

He did not fly.

His heart was crushed, his faith, shattered.

He's a year older now, and wiser. Recently, the subject returned to his mind. "Mama, if you make a wish in a wishing well, will it come true?"  He knew the answer, but he was just checking.

"Only if you wish the right thing," I said, wisely. "Like, you can say, 'I wish I didn't have so much money!'  Then when you throw your penny in, your wish will come true just like that! Amazing!"

He laughed hard at my example, probably imagining one of his brothers doing something so silly.
Then he said, "Mom, I know how it could work. What if YOU owned the wishing well."

His eyes sparkled, as he thought of all the people making silly wishes and throwing money into his well.

What kind of six-year-old thinks this way!?  I stand in awe of his faith.


When he was four, his faith in wishing wells was shattered that fateful day at Disney. But his faith? His hope in making all of his dreams come true with his own two hands?  That "faith" is very much alive. That part of his heart is now trying to find a way to purchase a wishing well.

"Faith" definied: complete trust or confidence in someone or something

We cast things into wishing wells, too, don't we? We scheme and plant and fertilize and pray for rain. We lend so that we can borrow later.  We diet to feel loved.  We say we are "fine" as if "fine" is a magic word that can somehow make itself come true.

And sometimes, we see the futility of these pennies tossed into the well.  We see that our little efforts to control the universe are futile. 

We repent, sort of. We realize we have put our faith in something futile.  We are silly little kids throwing pennies in a  hole. Nobody wants to be that kid.   So, we repent.

And then we go buy our own wishing well.  We search for better ways to take control, to make our own dreams come true. We diet AND exercise. We join groups and make resolutions. We never, ever give up. Why? Because we have faith. 

"Faith" definied: complete trust or confidence in someone or something

We have faith in ourselves.

And this is the heart of the matter, isn't it? This is why we squirm before Jesus, why we so quickly jump to defend our perpetual activity against the Word of God.

We do not like to hear that our works are mere pennies, our resolutions "filthy rags." We do not like to hear that our faith has been misplaced, that we have trusted in that which cannot save.  We do not like to face the reality of pennies poured down a hole, of years wasted.

It is hard to let go of the scheming. 
How is it even possible?
Shouldn't I be the one in control of this thing?
How do I know I can trust the One Who is?

God has not left us to seek Him everywhere.  We do not need to go to the woods or the wells or the ouiji boards.   We simply meet Him where He is found: In His Word and Sacraments.

There, He shows us Himself.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth, whose heart overflows in bloody mercy for those He has made.

This wellspring of grace- it is not something we can own. We cannot add to God, or work Him like a vending machine.  But we can stand in Him, under Him, and allow ourselves to be covered by the living water of mercy and grace in Jesus.

Our God is a God who pours Himself out for us, daily and richly,
that we may be His own.

May He grow our roots down deep in His Word,
and may he open our souls up to the sky, that we may comprehend with all the saints
the height and width and depth and breadth of His great love for us.

Or in other words, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.  Grant me faith, for without you I can do nothing."

Small Catechism Second Article: Redemption

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
What does this mean?
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.
This is most certainly true.

How about you?

Do you "wish in wells?" Or are you more likely to try to own the well?


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  1. I'm stopping by from Mama Moments Monday. I found these lines convicting, "We repent, sort of. We realize we have put our faith in something futile. We are silly little kids throwing pennies in a hole." Yes, how often I find myself casting pennies in futility. And I do feel silly, for the Source of Life, Creator God, He is already mine and I am His. :)

    1. Yes, conviction! I notice that my "repentance" is sometimes just giving up on one strategy to try another- either way I am trying to make life WORK on my terms!

      So glad our God is gracious and patient with us!


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