The Tin Man Has a Heart

They say time heals all wounds. I heard something on the radio today that contradicted that old adage. Time doesn’t necessarily heal our wounds. I find time more often dulls the pain, or creates distance from the pain to the present in our minds, but may not heal the wounds as often as we believe.

If you are human, I’m sure you have experienced some heart ache or another. Whether the breath taking pain of a loved one passing on or the shattering wounds of a broken love. The stabbing pain of being jilted or betrayed by someone you trusted. And the more times you are stabbed, the scars form walls around your heart preventing you from trusting or loving again. Sometimes you have been so wounded, you feel your soul itself has died and your heart can’t possibly be allowed to beat again.

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The tin man felt a similar pang in the movie The Wizard of Oz, only his problem was worse than a broken heart. He was made without a heart which meant he couldn’t love or feel jealous or angry or any of the normal emotions we feel. If you’ve ever experienced the pain of a broken heart, you might wish you were the tin man. Imagine, not having to feel the deep aching of a burdened or wounded heart.

I think at times, the enemy wishes we didn’t have a heart either. He tries everything he can to make us believe we are unloved or unwanted. He uses our bitterness or anger to make our hearts cold and unfeeling. He emphasizes our wounds to make us want to close off our hearts to love. He does everything in his power to stop our beating hearts. In that respect he can be likened to Elphaba’s sister, Nessa Rose, in the musical Wicked. When (spoiler alert) Boq, the munchin boy who took Nessa Rose to the dance, finally admits that he never loved her, Nessa grabs Elphaba’s spell book and casts a spell on him that will destroy his heart. Luckily, or unluckily, depending on how you look at it, Elphaba steps in and casts another spell that keeps Boq alive, but turns him into a tin man who has no heart.

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Satan is very jealous of our love for God and will do anything to destroy a heart that beats for Him. But, fortunately for us, our fate is not the same as that of the tin man. We have hearts that beat and can be very alive. While Satan is working to reveal how broken or hollow our hearts are, God is whispering life back into our calloused hearts and longs to heal the brokenness we feel inside.

If you look at the two tin men in these stories, you will see quite a difference in how their stories end. In one, the tin man was made without a heart and finds out in the end that he had one all along. In the other, the tin man had a heart, but had it taken away from him in a jealous rage.

Maybe you feel like the first-hollow and empty inside, longing to feel a prick of anything to make you feel alive. Or, maybe you favor the latter and feel your heart has been ripped mercilessly from your chest, never to beat again. Whichever tin man you feel you are, your heart is never too far gone to receive the love of Christ. In His Word, He promises to bind up the wounds of His children and bring healing to the broken hearted. He alone can make your shattered heart whole. He alone can take the emptiness you feel and replace it with a beating, living heart.

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Give your hurting, wounded scars to the Lord and discover the heart He intended to beat within you.

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Wicked: An Elphaba kind of prayer

Have you ever felt like the wicked witch of the west? That may seem like an odd question. Especially since most of the time we would like to think we are more like Galinda the good witch, or even the heartless tin man or cowardly lion. Maybe even the heroic Dorothy who saves all of Oz from the terrifying witch.

Maybe this will help clear up my question a bit. The other night I was sitting in my bed reflecting on all the confusing and entangling events going on in my life and it felt like I was searching for something, anything to say to God and figure out how to figure out this mess. It felt like I was grasping at straws. Seeking answers to nagging questions. Looking for peace in the turmoil. Pacing the lion’s cage hoping to find the magical thing that would set me free or fill the hollow emptiness inside.

Being the musical theatre buff that I am, this goose chase my mind was taking me on brought to mind the scene in Wicked when Elphaba is chanting frantically across the expanse of the stage trying something, anything, to make sure Fiyero can’t be harmed. If you don’t know the story, it’s a creative retelling of the Wizard of Oz that takes a look at the witch’s side of the story. It follows the life of Elphaba, the wicked witch of the west, and her friendship with Galinda the good witch and Fiyero, a new boy in school, Elphaba’s sister, Nessarose, and a munchkin boy named Boq. I don’t want to spoil the storyline for those who haven’t seen it, but it comes to a point towards the end of the story where Fiyero ends up running off to help Elphaba and he gets taken prisoner because of it. Desperate to save the one good thing in her life, Elphaba opens her book of enchantments and starts saying whatever she can hoping it will be enough to save him.

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My life has felt a bit like that, and as I mentioned, that scene came to mind the other night as I wrestled with so many of the questions on my mind. I don’t know if you have ever had moments like that, where much like Elphaba in the song, you feel like shouting at top of your lungs, trying to figure what you want to say to God or what you want Him to do. You just keep going round and round not knowing if you are supposed to listen to what He has to say or if you are supposed to spill everything on your heart. You just know that things aren’t right in your life and you have to do whatever it takes to make them right.

Sometimes, you do have so much on your mind, you don’t know what or how to pray. But, that’s ok. You don’t have to have all the right words or have all the right things to pray. God knows what our hearts are trying to say. Even when it seems like our prayers are coming out in gibberish and make no sense to us. If we are praying in earnest to our God, He will hear us. He hears us in our tears. He hears us in our laughter. He hears us when we are so full of sorrow we can’t even speak. Just make sure you do pray, and that you keep on praying. Pour out your heart to your Father and let His never-ending love enfold you.

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The story of Wicked comes to a bittersweet end. Elphaba does ultimately save Fiyero and herself, even though it may not have happened the way she expected it too. But God works like that sometimes. We will ask for one thing and He will give it to us, just not how we expected it to happen. Or, He will give us something else that’s better for us. He knows our lives better than we do and knows what we need. So, when you’re overwhelmed or feel you are just mumbling nonsense, rest in the fact that God has already written your story and knows what the outcome will be.