By Commissioner Jolene K. Hodder
For weeks before the big costume party, my daughter had been planning her outfit to the tiniest detail. She was going to attend as Cinderella. We found the perfect light blue gown, plastic high heels, gloves, and jewelry. Pictures of her hairdo were clipped from a magazine. She convinced me to let her wear make-up. Everything was set.
But then, the accident. Two days before the party, running down the driveway, my little girl tripped and fell on her face. By the next morning, she was swollen and bruised. Through her tears she cried, “No princess looks like this!” My heart broke, but then I had an idea. I sat my daughter down and read her that portion of Alice in Wonderland in which Alice falls down the rabbit hole. My girl looked at me quizzically for a moment, and then a huge smile broke on her face. She exclaimed, “Mom, I look like I fell down a rabbit hole! I can be Alice!”
I must confess that, when I was young, Alice in Wonderland was not one of my favorite books. But since that day with my daughter, I’ve had a new appreciation for the story. I’ve come to see that Alice’s story is very much like my mine. According to editors Charles Frey and John Griffin, “Alice is engaged in a romance quest for her own identity and growth, for some understanding of logic, rules, the games people play, authority, time and death.” In other words, Alice is Everyman (or, more correctly, Everywoman!). All of us are all searching for something more.
In their book, Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice, Dallas Willard and Jan Johnson write that, when we open ourselves to the New Testament, we’re looking into another world, a world that beckons us to enter. Yet we’re fearful of doing so. Just like Alice, we want the answers to life’s questions, but we’re not entirely sure that we’re willing to undertake a daring, costly adventure to find them. We’d far prefer just to reach into that world from time to time and pull out those things that we’re comfortable with — the easy, warm, soft things that don’t make any demands or require us to change in any way.
But that will never be enough, because just like Wonderland, the world to which Christ invites us is, from a purely human perspective, an upside-down place where nothing makes sense. The world into which we’re born tells us to be self-reliant, to take control, and strive to be great. After all, we deserve it. But by contrast, the divine life to which the scriptures invite us requires that we rely upon God, give Him control, and humbly follow His direction. As Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
That’s when I have to decide if I’m as brave as Alice. Am I ready to follow Christ deep into His world? Am I willing to holding nothing back? I want to burn with curiosity about what lies just beyond the next bend, discovering one glorious truth after another, until I am wholly lost in the amazing adventure God has planned just for me. Sure, I’ll fall occasionally. I might even acquire a few scars. But just like Alice, I desperately want to find out what living life in the Kingdom is all about.