How would you like to be able to open Disneyland Park? On the day we went to Disneyland, we got selected to open the park! Would you like to know how?
Well, let me tell you. I’ve been to Disneyland four times in the past 60 years: 1.) 60 years ago, in 1958, when I was only 8 (like my grandson Reid),
and the park was only 3 years old. 2.) 30 years ago, in 1988, when our oldest son, Aaron was 13
and I was 38 (like my daughter-in-law, Carleen is now). 3.) 25 years ago, in 1993, when our youngest son was a toddler. 4.) Last week, when our oldest son’s oldest son (Reuben, on left) was almost 13.
In addition, Alan and I have been to Disney World 50+ times in the past 45 years. So, we are definitely Disney fans (or at least, Alan is!). Talk about fun through the generations! However, it wasn’t our devotion to Disney that got us selected, and it wasn’t through some application process. Also, it wasn’t because we were first in line (although I gather people do attempt to be first in line for that reason). Actually, Alan and Aaron had dropped us off at the gate and gone back to our apartment to park (and then walk back) while Carleen and I were waiting in line with our four kiddos. We were singing a song together about the states and capitals, when a man walked up and invited us to open the park. We were totally surprised. In all my years of going to Disney, I’d never tried to figure out how to get to open the park or even thought about wanting to open the park. BUT, presented with the opportunity, the answer was YES! So, our patron led us through the crowds to the front gate, took us in, and let us be the ones to lead the count down and yell, “Let the magic begin!”Now, I know this might seem disappointing to you, because as humans we’d think it might be more “fair” if we could somehow be selected based on merit or hard work . . . because we were such devoted fans or got up the earliest and were the very first people in line, or because we had submitted an application explaining why we were the most deserving of candidates. But human wisdom is not God’s wisdom, and for whatever reason, He allowed us to be randomly selected for the privilege of opening Disneyland last week! Thank you, Father, for that totally undeserved and surprising opportunity! I wonder, are there any of you reading this who believe in God but feel like you’re just waiting in line, hoping to get into heaven someday? You may be real “fans” of religious things . . . go to church faithfully and try to live right. You may even believe the “fair” way to get into heaven is by being good . . . by working very hard, disciplining yourself to be an exemplary student, employee, or parent, or by loving others enough to deserve getting into heaven. Maybe . . .Hopefully . . . ?Disney may be “the happiest place on earth,” but heaven is incomparably better than Disney, and God actually wants all of us to be shouting together, “Let the joys begin!” However, God knows that no matter how hard we try, we’re not going to be “good enough” on our own even to pay our way into the park (so to speak), so He sent Jesus to make it possible! We don’t have to be in the right place at the right time, and we don’t have to attempt to earn our way into heaven. All we have to do is say “YES!” to Jesus, who like our kindly guide, has the power to get us through the gates: “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you . . .9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture . . .10I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (excerpts from John 10:7-11). Are you ready to begin your best and greatest adventure yet . . . something infinitely more exciting than getting to open Disneyland?“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).