The young boy was a runaway with nothing but the thin overalls he wore. No shirt under the overalls. No shoes. No food. No money. No destination except freedom from his pursuers.
The only good thing about his circumstances was that he had a friend traveling with him. This friend was not a same-age buddy also on the run, also suffering from a lack of resources. No; he was a guide and an advocate who not only offered hope, but also had the means of helping the boy find a practical solution to his problem.
Rested after a night’s sleep in the arms of his friend, and grinning from ear to ear over a breakfast of apples from a tree, the boy told his able friend, “Now we’re together, and life is perfect.”
That statement, “life is perfect,” certainly is intriguing when you consider the boy’s present plight and poverty. But, it makes a little more sense when you know that the situation he had run from was much worse. To him, the freedom he now had, as uncertain as it was, was “perfect” in comparison to where he had been.
Our true and pressing needs are not to be diminished, though many of us sometimes complain about minor things in addition to worrying about major things. Might it be helpful to check our general attitude against the story of a runaway child who, after escaping the worst oppression he had ever known, was immensely grateful for what would look at first glance like terrible poverty?
The family that worked young Pete like a slave bought him for $50 from an orphanage. Pete’s friend and helper was a real dragon that everyone but Pete thought was imaginary. The movie is Pete’s Dragon (1977). Worth mention are enjoyable performances by Mickey Rooney, Helen Reddy, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters – and Jim Dale (who narrated those cute Angel Soft commercials and performed all of the Harry Potter audiobooks).
Elliott, Pete’s animated dragon friend in the movie, has magical abilities. He can fly, turn himself invisible, and communicate verbally with human beings (even though his own speech is a bit muffled and mumbled).
Once Elliott the dragon has connected Pete with an adoptive family, he leaves Pete in order to go help another child who needs an advocate. “I won’t ever see you again, will I?” Pete asks with tears in his eyes. It is a bittersweet parting.
The worst oppression we experience, whether it feels that way or not, is being a slave to sin. Jesus Christ, our Friend and Advocate, not only offers hope, but also has the goal and the power to help us find the remedy for sin and to meet our material needs (see Matthew 6:25-33). And He doesn’t have to leave us in order to go help someone else.
Pete says to Elliott in one of the songs, “I’m glad I don’t have to be alone.” In Christ we don’t have to be alone, or poor, or lost, or aimless. Consider your own emotions at a low or self-pitying point, or the feelings of someone you know: