Magical Thinking: Does God have a magic wand?

So far, we have reviewed the sin, truth, and experiential models of human growth. Finally, the supernatural model, while it has lots of variations, focuses on a type of magical healing and deliverance—the Holy Spirit will make things change if you just believe. I like to refer to this model as the magical thinking “poofing” model!

It wasn’t until recently, and a bit before we started the How People Grow (Cloud & Townsend, 2001) Bible study, that I recognized how much magical or fairy tale thinking I have relied on during my life. I loved to read as a kid, anything and everything. Most of the books in my house growing up were romance novels, Reader’s Digest fiction anthologies, and encyclopedias. I read them all. But, my favorite were romance novels. What young girl doesn’t love a story of good and evil, love winning against all odds, and a happy ending? Add this to a personality that generally sees things through rose-colored glasses, and magical, fairy-tale thinking is not out of the realm of possibilities.

The first 20 years of my life, this model of thinking worked well. I had nothing to challenge it. I had no major life issues to deal with—my family was solid and God-fearing, no major health battles other than allergies and asthma, no boyfriends—just a good solid drama-free life. Then, life happened, and it didn’t follow the storybook line. At first, that was okay, I was the heroine and could withstand a bit of tragedy to end up with my happy ending. I was strong and capable, and God was my God, and he would see me through. No matter what, it would all turn out okay. Besides, if it got too bad, God would just “poof” it better. I know, you are laughing with me, or maybe crying with me, because it sounds so ridiculous to think that way, but you realize at some point or another in life, you have done the same. I get it. Come and sit at my table, and we will commiserate about the fact that our lives aren’t fairy tales!

Again, don’t get me wrong, God is fully capable of what we might term supernatural activity. But, again, in my life, I kept expecting God to come and miraculously change my life while I kept doing things in my relationships and life that created chaos, brokenness, and hurt. I enabled the addict. I resisted confrontation because it was too uncomfortable. Instead of seeking God’s guidance and will, I waited in my ivory tower like Rapunzel, waiting to be rescued. The only problem, my hairstyle was a cropped pixie rather than miles of long hair. How could God reach me if I didn’t let down my hair? Do you see the limits of this model and how we can get in the way of God’s supernatural abilities?

How has the supernatural model worked in your life? Have you ever fallen prey to waiting for God to magically “poof” things into reality in your life?

Contributed by Liz Hunt


Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (2001). How people grow: What the Bible reveals about personal growth. Zondervan. Magical Thinking: Does God have a magic wand? Magical Thinking: Does God have a magic wand? Magical Thinking: Does God have a magic wand?

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