The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Stormy Nights
Originally a Walt Disney World attraction (it had opened there in 1999), the Disneyland version of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh opened in April of 2003, replacing the much-loved but sparsely visited attraction, Country Bear Jamboree. (As a a side note, I was there the last night Country Bear Jamboree was open, and was in the penultimate show. It would have been the last one, but they added one more show and I had to get up early for church the next morning, so I couldn’t push it much past midnight.)
The attraction was based on the 1977 animated film of the same name (which was really made up of three shorter featurettes—Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!—which had been released earlier. The ride takes the scenes out of order—and they’re different between the Disneyland and Walt Disney World—but the gist of each one is there.
One of my favorite segments of both the movie and the ride is the rain scene. In case you haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it in a long time, this is part of Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. “Happy Winds-day!” Pooh wishes everyone he meets on this blustery day. As the story progresses, Pooh meets Tigger for the first time and has his nightmare about Heffalumps and Woozles.
As Piglet gets caught up in the storm, he writes a note for help (“Help! P-P-P-Piglet [Me]!”), and he & Pooh float out and get caught in the middle of the pouring rain. When Owl comes to tell Piglet a rescue is coming and to be brave, Piglet replies, “It’s awfully hard to be brave when you’re such a small animal.” After a bit more peril, Pooh and Piglet arrive safely at Christopher Robin’s house. (It sounds anti-climactic, but it’s really not.)
The lyrics from The Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down about Piglet’s predicament really struck me recently.
“The rain rain rain came down down down
In rushing, rising riv’lets,
‘Til the river crept out of it’s bed
And crept right into Piglet’s!
Poor Piglet, he was frightened,
With quite a rightful fright. And so, in desperation
A message he did write.
He placed it in a bottle
And it floated out of sight.
And the rain rain rain came down down down
So Piglet started bailing.
He was unaware, atop his chair,
While bailing he was sailing!”
I could write a post about Piglet and another one entirely about Pooh—and I probably will. For now, though, we’ll think about Piglet. He was tiny, he was scared (especially when the waterfall showed up!), and he was pretty helpless in the midst of the storm.
Sometimes we’re the same way. Circumstances turn dark, storm clouds roll in, the waves grow and crash, and we fear. And we have good reason to be afraid. It’s hard to see anything beyond the rain.
We try to bail ourselves out, and usually end up in worse shape than when we started. Just like Piglet, we focus so much on trying to fix an insurmountable problem that we don’t even notice it going from bad to worse—until it gets to catastrophic!
Luke 8:22-25 tells a story that you may be familiar with.
One day Jesus said to His disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, He fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
In the midst of the storm, Jesus was not afraid. He was not helpless. When His disciples called on Him for help, He got up and calmed the storm. But notice that He didn’t stop there. He asked them a question that we don’t want to hear: “Where is your faith?”
Jesus could calm the storm, and He did. But then He asks them why they needed Him to. Wasn’t His presence enough? Didn’t they trust that they would be safe, even in the midst of the storm?
He doesn’t always calm the storm. Sometimes the rain rain rain comes down down down, and it just keeps coming. And yet He remains with us through all of it and reminds us that we can trust Him. Even when there are storm clouds. Even in the rain. Especially in these times. The circumstances may not change. Prayers may not be answered right away the way we want them to be.
It’s hard to trust in the midst of chaos, but that’s exactly where we learn to do it. We rely on Him. Without the dark times, we don’t truly understand what it means that He is our shelter from the storm.
Sometimes He calms the storm, but other times He calms His child.
Question: Have you ever had a time you wanted God to calm the storm, but instead He calmed you? Talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.