Updated: May 10, 2021
I recently stumbled upon an old Disney ad from over 50 years ago that described the wonderful and timeless world of Disneyland. “And one of these many worlds will open up to you…” (as narrated in the perfect 1960s voiceover):
Frontierland – tall tales in truth from the legendary passed
Tomorrowland – the promise of things to come
Adventureland – the wonder world of nature’s own realm
Fantasyland – the happiest kingdom of them all
I bet every one of us has a special connection to Disney in some shape or form. Think for a moment about the legacy and far-reaching impact of Walt Disney that now crosses multiple generations. It’s not just inspirational, it’s – oh what’s the word – magical.
With every breath of imagination and sprinkle of creativity, we have all likely been exposed to the brilliance of priceless smiles and enduring happiness that have been at the core of Disney since inception. It’s contagious, and we all come back hungry for more, time and time again.
But what’s underneath our appetite for adventure and fantasy? For dreaming and wishing upon a star?
To me, the answer may just be hiding in Tomorrowland. That’s where we begin to think about what may be, what could be, what should be. That’s where things may just turn for the better, for all of us not just some of us. That’s the land where potential intersects with promise. A preferred future.
Cynical grown-ups might just rebut that such a land doesn’t exist, so stop dreaming or even trying to make anything better. Life ain’t fair, so get used to it.
Well this Toys R Us kid doesn’t wanna grow up. And from what I can see looking out on the horizon, Tomorrowland is indeed a real place. The question isn’t if or even where but rather when.
Which really gets to the root of the animation in my head. Will I get to see a glimpse of Tomorrowland in this lifetime, or is it really just experienced on the other side of paradise? How does the big picture timeline play out, and how will this impact me today (or better yet tomorrow)?
The promise of things to come is already assured and secure. God’s will is good and pleasing and perfect. We even know the end of the story and how all things are made right. We’re just asked to play a unique role with the gifts we’ve been given along the way – specifically to support and point to the true hero of salvation and redemption.
Yeah – but when? How? What’s next in Tomorrowland? How can I take hold of those promises today?
These are natural and common questions, although sometimes this quick-trigger mentality gives birth to worry and anxiety. We’re impatient for answers if not the exact answer key. What specifically should I do, where should I go, and when? What are my marching orders, please.
From what I’ve experienced over the last couple years (which spans two totally different movies), God might just be asking us to be patient and to wait on the Lord.
But at the same time, he also tells us to be prepared and be ready. To be dressed for action. Don’t forget to put on the armor of God.
Just being patient without being ready to move can lead to laziness or possibly apathy. The longer things take, the less interested we likely become and therefore not prepared or ready to respond appropriately when given the opportunity.
On the other hand, taking action without being patient can turn into reckless impulses at the mercy of our own emotions. This is when our flesh gets in the way of the Spirit, and we can quickly make a mess of things by moving too early. Or without God's prompt, direction, stirring, or even the wisdom of others.
So when God asks us to be patient, He is telling us there is a better time or a better way than our time or our way. His ways are most definitely higher than our ways, and his thoughts above our thoughts. Which goes entirely against the grain of our instant gratification world or the culture of me.
Yet will still dream, reach, strive, might I say groan for something better. Because better is not a fantasy but a present and future reality. It doesn’t mean easy street or perpetual happiness or guaranteed prosperity. Those are fleeting and actually not part of the script at all.
But Tomorrowland is most certainly full of hope and restoration. It’s truly a kingdom unlike any other, with the most awesome and loving Lion King we could ever imagine. Who loves us so much that He gave Himself up for us. So that we might have life and life to the fullest.
That’s a promise.