Dumbo: Up a Tree
Dumbo is a short and simple animated feature, but even here, we get to see Dumbo’s defining moment.
He’s just visited his mom (and we hear “Baby Mine”—a song that still gets me), and now is outside the clowns’ tent. Meanwhile, a bottle of alcohol the clowns have been drinking falls into the bucket of water—unbeknownst to Dumbo and Timothy mouse. As he drinks from it, Dumbo gets a little tipsy. The famous Pink Elephants on Parade song is Dumbo’s hallucination after he’s had too much to drink.
When he wakes up the next morning, Dumbo finds himself in a most unusual place for an elephant…up in a tree. As he’s stuck up there, afraid and confused, Timothy Mouse suddenly realizes what’s happened. Dumbo flew! Those huge ears that had seen a source of ridicule are actually good for something. As Timothy Mouse tells him, “The very things that held ya down are gonna carry ya up, and up, and up!”
Our natural inclination is to avoid getting stuck up a tree. We do everything we can to be strong, to be safe, and to have a backup plan. That works—for a while—but eventually we all come to a place where our strength is used up, our security is gone, and we’ve exhausted Plan B…and Plan C and Plan D and Plan Z. Then what? [Tweet this]
Then we get to the place where we should have started. It is those very things we try to avoid because we think they’re going to hold us down that will truly carry us up.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake,so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:7-18)
If we never experience those times of trial, of fear, or of significant change, then we miss out on some tremendous blessings. If we have enough strength to do what we need to do, then we miss out on God’s strength in us. If we stay safe and secure, then we have no need to rely on God. If what is seen is enough for us, then we will never look for what is unseen.
Sometimes finding yourself up a tree is the best place you can be—where else will you discover you can fly? [Tweet this]
Question: When have you found yourself “up a tree” and later found out that time was exactly what you needed? Talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.