I looked high and low for a youtube clip of this scene from the Pixar movie, Finding Nemo, but I couldn’t find it. Do you remember the scene where Marlin (Nemo’s over protective father) and Dori (the little blue fish with no short term memory) are trapped inside the whale because Dori thought she could speak whale and tried to ask for directions? In this scene, Marlin is throwing himself against the baleen of the whale trying to escape to continue his search for his lost son. In discouragement he sinks to the bottom of the whale’s mouth and gives up.
He says, “I promised I’d never let anything happen to him.”
Dori pauses and comments, “Well, that’s a funny thing to promise someone.”
“What?” Marlin looks up in a bit of surprise.
Dori continues, “Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him, then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.”
I’ve thought about that often. A good parent doesn’t over protect. For the good of the child, parents need to let their children have experiences in life. Age appropriate experiences can provide wonderful teaching moments. Difficult experience can provide opportunities for growth and for trying new things. Risky experiences can build courage and faith when handled properly. You can’t prevent things from happening just for the sake of protecting a child from what MIGHT happen.
God does the same with us. If he wanted to, he could place us in a perfect little environment with a protective dome over us. We could live in a celestial terrarium where nothing would ever happen to us that was outside of our control. But what fun would that be? We would never need to learn to trust if there was never any risk. We would never explore our limitations if we never faced challenges that pushed us to our edges. We would be bored silly with how safe and ordinary and self centered our lives would be if God never allowed ANYTHING to happen to us.
Maybe that’s why we encourage people to “get out of their bubble” and have an adventure or go on a missions trip or try something scary for God. You can’t stay at home forever. Get out there and see what can happen when you let something happen. Don’t be scared of the possibility of something bad happening. You should be more afraid of nothing ever happening to you. Take a chance! Don’t fear the what-ifs. Turn them into why-nots?