My daughter loves to tell a joke about why Cinderella can’t play soccer… “because she keeps running away from the ball.” Then she moves on to several other classic Disney characters to keep the laughs coming. (It’s good, I know.) I’ve heard that joke at least twice a week for months, but this week I can’t get a scene out of my head. It’s where Cinderella has to make a run for it after the clock strikes midnight. When my attention seems to be set on something it seems only feasible to ask God what He’s thinking. So I got quiet “and I caught a whisper” (Amos 4).
I thought right away of another read in the Bible that speaks of the midnight hour. When Paul and Silas were in prison they were praying and singing hymns to God and the other men listened in on them. It says that “suddenly there was a violent earthquake and the doors were opened and their chains came loose” (Acts 16:25). That’s what praise and worship can do, it can bring freedom when you’re not expecting it and extend freedom for those next to you. Being caged in could have shifted the perspective of Paul and Silas, instead they sought to give thanks and honor God. That’s not easy when the walls seem to be closing in on you…and yet “suddenly” their worship shifted the atmosphere around them and opened up doors that just a minute ago had been closed. I feel strongly in my spirit God is whispering “it’s about midnight.” It’s time to pray and praise! Things will shift, but not as some Disney movie projects that things will “go back to the way they were.” It’s a different kind of Midnight, where things open up, suddenly’s happen, and a new path becomes clear, as it did for the jailer that was suppose to be keeping tabs on the prisoners. “When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew his sword to end his life. But Paul called out in a loud voice, don’t harm yourself, we are all here. The jailer rushed in and fell trembling asking what must he do to be saved.”
I started thinking about “the midnight hour” and the expectancy that develops inside of us as a new day is about to emerge. New days and new decades are marked by the stroke of midnight. Rejoicing happens as the countdown begins and the ball descends. I feel an increase is to be had in our expectation about what God is up to, “It’s coming…it’s coming to pass, that which I have said-I will do, for I am not a man that I should lie” (num.23:19). We don’t put our hope in fairytales, or trust in fallacies, but in the assurance that the living God is actively on the move and still speaking to us today.
Disney didn’t have it all wrong though, Cinderella couldn’t will her way out of being locked up, and no amount of singing with the mice was going to change a hard situation. It took the persistence of other “royal rulers” and others working together to press in towards the prize that ultimately freed the darling princess. I wonder if this isn’t our protocol this season, in this midnight hour, to persist in the pressing in so that others may walk out of locked doors with more ease and be free.
I love a good ending, DeAnn Carpenter