My wife, Linda, made this Yellow cake with Lemon Custard filling and Lemon frosting the other day. She calls it the Lemony Snicket's: A Series of Unfortunate Events cake. It looks like a disaster, but MAN did it taste great!
That's exactly how we felt about the movie Lemony Snicket's: A Series of Unfortunate Events. The first time we watched it, we thought it was REALLY bizarre and off the wall, but in the end we felt something...a good something. All in all, it MovedMe (and Linda). This is what we got out of it. I hope after we describe how it tasted to us that you too will appreciate it and at the same time see something of the heart of God towards His children.
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE ANYWAY? - Klaus says it best. After the Baudelaire children's parents have been killed, and they get sent to that ogre of an uncle (Olaf), who locks them up in a dank room, Klaus says, "Didn't they [his parents] plan for us?" Isn't this the type of question we ask when life takes a turn for the worse? What is the first thing that runs through your head when tragedy strikes? What are your thoughts when you hear that a loved one is sick or dying, you've lost a job, or your safety-espousing aunt is consumed by leeches? Many times I start thinking, "Woe is me!" I hate that about myself. I begin doubting my Heavenly Father. I wonder... "Is God holding out on me?" or "Does He really know what He's doing?"
The answer is revealed toward the end of the movie. The Baudelaire children have been through seemingly horrific events, nobody is sure where Count Olaf is, and they are standing in the charred remains of their once majestic home. A letter, sent long ago by their parents, arrives, giving hope and clarity to the 3 weary offspring. It says, "At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. And what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may, in-fact be the first steps of a journey." In other words, things aren't as bad as they seem. We, too, are called to open the eyes of our hearts (REALLY search), and to discover that God's not holding out on us... He's refining us. Big difference! It's a journey.
When things get tough and I question God's motives towards me, I have to remind myself that He has a purpose and a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11).
WE NEED EACH OTHER - I really relate to the Baudelaire children, and not just cause they dress funny, but because something evil is trying to steal their inheritance from them. Remember John 10:10 (kill, steal, destroy)? Count Olaf embodies Satan's assault on believers. He wants nothing more than to have us miserable, in despair, the opposite of joyous. So he subtly attacks. What do we do?
We as Christians must band together as the Baudelaire children did. Just as each child's gifts and talents (Violet - inventing, Klaus - Encyclopedic knowledge, Sunny - biting) helped them out of quite a few binds, so we as the Body of Christ must bring our unique gifts to help each other in this battle against the flesh, the world, and the devil. We needn't worry about the fact that blood doesn't connect us. As Klaus said, "Have you noticed that none of our relatives are related to us?" And sometimes we hook up with peculiar people like Aunt Josephine. People like her seem totally off their rocker, but man, don't they sometimes have a good word for us? (Remember all the stuff that happens in the house during the storm that she somewhat predicted?)
Again, back to the letter the parents (and God) writes, "take care of each other with kindness, and bravery, and selflessness" also "as long as you have each other, you have family, and you are home." Acts 2:42 says "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Amen.
SANCTUARY - Just one more quick insight and then it's your turn, Ok? Sanctuary. Throughout even the toughest trials the Baudelaire children face, they are able to find sanctuary. Snicket's narrates, "Sanctuary... Is a word which here means a small, safe place in a troubling world. Like an oasis in a vast desert or an island in a stormy sea." I don't know about you but I need me some of that stuff! I find it wave watching at my favorite spot in Shell Beach, CA. I sometimes find it listening to the lyrics of a song on my way to work alone in my car. I find it wherever and whenever I have the clarity to ask God to meet me. I need Him, because bombs are going off in the UK, my first son will be starting kindergarten in the fall, my wife needs a leader in our home, etc. Sanctuary...Not to escape, but to recharge and fight on! God is my refuge and my strength... He takes me under His wings.
FINAL THOUGHTS - Again, Klaus says it best (does he have the best lines or what?) over and over again, "Nothing happens by coincidence" and "These things just don't happen." He's right. Whatever I, you, or we are going through, it's happening for a reason. God, who loves us deeply, has an awesome plan! I can't wait to find out what it is! Let's journey together. I think we'll find He has an amazing way of making sweet lemonade out of seemingly sour events.