It will probably come quite obvious that I am a Christian and therefore look at reality from the point of view that God has saved me from myself through his son, Jesus. It is through this lens, my lens, in which I would like to explore the character of the Scarecrow in the Wizard of OZ. For those unfamiliar with his story arch, it is actually quite simple. He believes he doesn’t have the ability to think or in his own terms “If only I had a brain”. You may be thinking to yourself that is absurd, if you are able to make such a claim you have proven yourself wrong, be logical. Yes, what you have stated is true on one level but it is this very thing that propels him into a much larger adventure to find a solution to his plight. He is joined by three others who are not unlike himself. Dorthy, a little girl who believes she has lost her way home. A Tin Woodsmen, who believes he lacks a heart. A Lion, who believes he lacks courage. What is most interesting is that these friends, all agree to help each other find what each is missing both validating each other’s struggle as real but also affirming that a solution can be found. As a child I thought these characters extremely funny, as each embodied the very thing they believed they lacked but as an adult I see things much differently. In fact, I believe that we are all like the Scarecrow, Dorthy, Tin Woodsman and Lion; we are all waiting or striving to fill a hole in ourselves that we can’t seem to satisfy. So, you are smart. You have probably come to the conclusion that I will say that hole can only be filled by God. Yes and no. Let me explain.
See it is my belief that the Scarecrow’s desire to have thoughts, is the very driving force of his life or in simpler terms his truest calling. This has little to do with what most would claim his purpose is i.e. scaring crows. This perceived lack causes him to reach outward to others for help but also moves him into a greater world beyond the limitations of a farmer‘ s field. So who would stir such a desire in someone’s spirit? And to what end? Those are two interesting questions let us tackle one at a time.
I would say God himself places within humans this longing or even suffering for a greater purpose then they themselves can understand or fathom. Yes, I am implying that God, the compassionate and loving Father that Jesus showed us, can and very likely has created the feeling that we are missing a bit of ourselves. I can only theorize the true purpose of such a thing but I do think it is safe to say it motivates us to seek beyond ourselves, our understanding. So if we use the Scarecrow as our prime example, we quickly realize this undeniable urge to seek fullness leads him to place of greater self-realization. Over time he learns to embrace his untapped ability to think by overcoming various trials and tribulations of various forms with his friends. One may claim that this is a natural process of practice makes perfect and there is nothing spiritual about it. I think you may want to rethink such things, as it appears that the right series of events occur in the right sequence to both increase his skill but also his confidence as a thinker. If it is all random luck, it is just as likely that the Scarecrow would never had met Dorthy or worse, he would be told to be satisfied with his lot in life by a cruel farmer’s daughter. So am I suggesting that your truest purpose is covered in grace? I am. I am saying like the Scarecrow, God answers the prayer of your heart through a process of incremental but carefully tended growth. That leads us to our second question; the one I ask all the time, why?
Jesus tells us that the Kingdom is like a mustard seed, it is very small but overtime it will grow to be a large tree that will give shelter to others. I think this is the crux of the situation for us Scarecrows. God takes us and grows us through untraceable means. He does so over a set amount of time, his time. Then one day we see ourselves doing the very thing we believed we never could, all for the sake of others and for the glory of the one who grew us. Could he not just snap his fingers and get the job done. Just cure us of our thirst, our pain and our struggles. I believe the answer is yes, he could. He chooses to let us be witnesses to his goodness within our own lives as we journey day by day in faith holding on to the hope that even our greatest weakness can become something beautiful in his hands.
May you be as the Scarecrow, willing to step out of your comfort zone, willing to follow your call, willing to love others as they do the same.
Kyle The Sojourner