Over the Rainbow

I just finished reading a biography of Judy Garland. She is my favorite entertainer and has been for as long as I can remember. If you don’t know who she is (I am clutching my heart in pain at the thought), maybe this will help…

If you still don’t know, then we just can’t be friends.

Judy Garland was an amazing, one in a BILLION talent, but her personal life was disastrous. There are many reasons for that, the biggest of which seems to be that she was constantly seeking approval. She was happy when people liked her and depressed when they didn’t. When she sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” — her trademark song sung from the time she was 16 until her death at 47 — I believe she meant every word. She longed for a place where “troubles melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops.” She truly questioned, “if happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why can’t I?”

If you listen to recordings of her singing this song in her later years, you can hear the longing in her voice, feel the pain. She wanted what the song promised: a better life than what she had.

I wish, for many reasons, that I had been able to meet Judy Garland. More than anything, I wish I could have told her that what she longed for was possible. There is a place beyond our imaginations that is so much better than what we have here. Heaven. God placed in all of us a desire to be there. And, through Jesus, He made it possible to go. And that longing for approval? It cannot be met by any human, but it can be met by her Creator – a God who cares for her more than she can imagine. A Savior who can carry her burdens, free her from her addictions, forgive her for her sins, and give her the unconditional love she so desperately wanted.

I can’t say that to Judy Garland, but I can say it to YOU. Though her talent was exceptional, her struggles are common. They aren’t just the struggles of superstars. So many people are seeking to find fulfillment for their God-given longings for eternity with what is temporary. Reaching out for approval among the sinners instead of accepting it from the Savior. Medicating their pain instead of surrendering it to the One who can trade it for joy. I wish this amazingly talented woman could have known that. She can’t. But you can. And I pray that, if you don’t, you will.

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