There's been a lot of Peter Pan in this house lately. Namely, a return to Neverland rather than the primary trip to Neverland itself. Why? Here's the mom answer: we limit TV time in this house and it's short enough to entertain and long enough for me to make a meatloaf. (That's a slight lie, I very rarely make meatloaf. Let's say, "long enough for me to make a casserole.")
I don't know that I 'got it' as a kid, but I'm really enjoying Neverland at the moment. (I'll admit, I've cried at various parts each and every time we've watched it.) And on a magical night swim with my sweet little man (his first ever with the pool lights on), he pointed up at a star and said, "I bet that's Hook's pirate ship." I love the imagination, and I love how easy it is for him to believe what he is saying.
Peter Pan has brought a lot to light in my life lately. The premis in Return to Neverland is simple: Wendy's daughter, Jane, thinks the Peter Pan stories her mother tells her little brother are rubbish. She goes to bed one night after telling him as much and is then kidnapped in the night by Captain Hook himself, believing she is Wendy. Of course, he's still trying to get his hands on Peter Pan's treasure. Wendy ends up in Neverland with none other than Peter himself (and the lost boys and Tinkerbell of course), but is more than ready to get home. Of course, we all know the only way out of Neverland is by flying, and the only way to fly is by (say it with me), "faith, trust and pixie dust!"
Here's where it gets spiritual for me. (Yes, there is a spiritual analogy coming, hold on to your seats.) Tinkerbell is more than ready to get Jane back home (jealous little fairy), and she douses Jane with enough pixie dust to make us all sneeze. Rather than fly, Jane falls straight through the forest overgrowth and hits the forest floor with a famous Disney 'thud'. (No stars overhead this time.) Jane had the pixie dust but did not have the faith (or the trust).
Over time - Tink's light begins to die (it is implied that Tink herself is dying as well) because of Jane's unbelief.
And as Tinkerbell's light continues to fade, the lightbulb goes on for myself.
Jane had physically seen Tinkerbell. Not only that, she had seen Tinkerbell's ability to make Peter and the Lost Boys fly, but just because she saw her and what she was capable of, meant nothing in her own life. The pixie dust wasn't enough. Jane had to have the faith and trust with the pixie dust.
This brings James 2:19 to my mind, my own paraphrase: "Oh, you believe there's a God? Great, even the demons in hell believe that, and they tremble."
It also brings to the forefront of my mind Matthew 7:23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"
AKA "But we knew Tinkerbell! I talked to her! I saw that she made the others fly! I have heard the stories! I have seen her dust!"
So easily we can lose sight of the 'faith' part of... well... faith. We settle on, "Of course I believe in Jesus," and we believe in what He has done in the lives of others around us... but what has He done in our own lives? Has He given us the faith to believe? Do we, in essence, have the faith to fly as opposed to simply the recognizing of His power in the lives of others?
It's amazing the parallels we can see if we look hard enough. Tinkerbell alone is not enough to fly you out of Neverland... as a belief in God or a 'belief' in Jesus is not enough to bring us into a relationship with Him or to deliver us into His presence upon our dying. Faith is vital, and faith comes only through Christ.
My prayer would be that we would be given an incredibly firm faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, full of the assurance and joy that is promised to those who love Him. I also echo the cry of the father in Mark 9:24, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"
Ephesians 2:8-9 sums it up:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.