Is heaven similar to the Emerald City? While researching a recent talk on heaven, that’s the first image I visualized as I read the Revelation description of the New Jerusalem. The foundations of the city walls will be decorated with precious stones, the gates will be made out of single pearls and Main Street will be constructed out of transparent gold. When we see this magnificent sight, I suspect our reaction might be a little like the reaction that Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin man and the Cowardly Lion had, when they finally laid their eyes on the Emerald City. It was not an easy road getting there, full of twists and turns and many struggles along the way, a lot like what we experience in our lifetimes.
Maybe that’s why I related to the Wizard of Oz so much while growing up, because it does speak to our life here on earth. Aren’t we all a little like Dorothy, searching for that place we can call home? Or are we more like the Tin Man, desiring to love and be loved? The scarecrow wanted a brain that would enable him to make wise decisions. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve prayed for wisdom! There are so many times we seek courage to endure difficult situations like the Cowardly Lion requested. Our journey and needs are not unlike the needs placed at the Wizard of Oz’ feet.
There are differences from the journey to Oz; however. The yellow brick road was a crooked, winding path. While our lives can follow that kind of path, we have a promise from God in Isaiah 42 when he says he will make the crooked things straight. We just have to ask Him to guide us and lead us down that path. When Dorothy and her new friends finally reached the Wizard, they ended up disappointed to find out he really wasn’t what he pretended to be, just a regular guy from Kansas who wandered to Oz in his hot air balloon. So many people search for the meaning of life down the wrong paths and follow the wrong leaders. Our God is the real deal. We are to put no other gods before him. While the Wizard of Oz could not technically transform the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow he did give them the encouragement they needed. God; however, does possess transforming power! We can be assured of that! The Apostle Paul was on a different road than Dorothy and her fellow travelers, the Damascus Road. On that road, he came face to face with Christ and was transformed from a persecutor of Christians to a Christ follower. Only God can change the hearts of men and women!
So as we make our way towards God’s emerald city, heaven, we must know that He is the one and only one who can meet our own needs for a heart, wisdom and courage while we finish out our lives here on earth.