Last week, I watched Aladdin with my little family. (Warning: This post may contain spoilers, if you are into those stuff, and if you haven’t watched the movie.) My little girl’s been beaming about it. We didn’t catch it the moment it went showing, but we did watch it the day after.
Somehow, my husband and I discussed how Aladdin and Genie’s relationship can be like that of us and God. Please note that I am not in anyway implying that we are God’s masters, that we can just wish for whatever we wanted and He’s bound to grant it. But I would like to point out on this “reflection/movie review,” that the way Genie had granted wishes for Aladdin, that is how God usually blesses us. Let me explain my reflection further…
But first, before Aladdin can make his wish, the Genie had to inform him of rules:
- No wishing for more wishes;
- No wishing for someone to love you;
- No wishing for someone to go back from the dead
Now, this isn’t really how we are when we ask things from God. God does not have rules when it comes to us wishing and praying. We actually have unlimited wishes! We can always pray to God for whatever it is that we need, and whenever we want to. The only difference is, how God grants our wishes. So, in relation to Aladdin’s wishes and how Genie granted them, here’s how I can relate it to how God grants them to us.
First wish: For Aladdin to be a Prince
Aladdin wished to become a Prince to impress Princess Jasmine. This included having an enormous amount of material wealth and possessions, dressing and looking better, introducing himself in lavish parties and parades, employing dancers, trumpeters, and animal trainers. Being a street-rat and a thief, Aladdin wanted a way out of poverty and stealing, and no longer need to run. Becoming a Prince would get him off the streets, and eventually win the Princess’s heart.
This can be likened to us wishing, praying or asking God for things we may want to have or achieve in life. Fame and Fortune. Wealth and Success. We have our dreams, our goals, our plans. Not just tangibles, but also the intangibles. We ask God for happiness, for joy, for love. And we, more often than not, pray to God that He grants them based on how we imagined or visualize it. Based on our details. Based on how we want to see them turn out.
Then, we learn that sometimes, God has a different way of granting our wishes/prayers. We may think of one way, but He always has a better way in mind. We may think that we need something in our life, when in fact, God wants us to have something else, something better. When we stick to our details, then God somehow allows those to unfold, and then something turns out bad, we realize that we should have just trusted God’s hand. We should have trusted His way. His ways are definitely better and greater.
Second wish: For Genie to save Aladdin’s life
In the movie, Aladdin did not really wish this. He wasn’t actually capable of wishing it when he needed it because he was drowning and was losing consciousness. Genie interfered because it will cost Aladdin his life if he didn’t.
I guess this is how God also operates. Because He knows exactly what we need and when we need it, He sometimes does not wait for us to ask for it. He’s generous enough to give it. That is pure grace.
There are times when we don’t feel God’s presence in our lives. When we go through trials or challenges, there are times that we feel abandoned. When we go through something really deep, there are actually times when He does tell us to do something, but then we may be too stubborn to listen, that it causes our failure, our fall.
But then, we sometimes fail to realize that He works through other people. Sometimes, through circumstances. Sometimes, even the most random things. Then, we remember that we just need to ask for His guidance, acknowledge that we need His help through whatever to make it through. Just like Genie guiding Aladdin’s hand to sign that “waiver,” God will always guide us using His hand, towards the way out, to safety, to salvation. Yes, He will always save us when things go bad.
Third wish: For Genie to be set free
Aladdin asked Genie what he would’ve wished for if he could. Since Genie was bound to the lamp, he wasn’t free to live his life the way he chooses it. And if he could wish it, he would want freedom from the lamp. And this was what Aladdin wished after he finally saw what it meant to be a true Prince and how to be truly loved by a Princess.
I believe this is like God wishing that we give Him control over everything in our life. God had already granted us free will to do whatever we want, but He actually wanted to bless us more, and not limit us on how we can be blessed by Him.
Honestly, this is the most difficult to explain, not because it was a concept that is hard to understand, but because it contradicts itself. Freedom for Genie means Aladdin sacrificing a wish for him. So, as I delve deeper, this is not just about setting someone free, but it is actually showing love to someone.
Am I saying that Aladdin loves Genie? Somehow, yes. But it’s not the romantic kind, of course, like what he has for Princess Jasmine. It’s the love of a friend. Of a son to his father. Of a father to his kids. That kind of thing. The kind of love that knows how to sacrifice. The kind of love that is so valuable, and yet, so priceless.
That kind of love that Jesus can give, when He gave up His life upon a cross, to grant us salvation. To set us free from sin. To let us live a new life.
Okay, so my reflection did not seem too cohesive, but as I was writing this review, it just comes to me. The movie wasn’t really just about a genie who grants wishes, an orphan who wanted more, or a princess needing to be free.
It’s about our relationship with God. It involves how confident we are, and how trusting we are, that whatever we ask of Him, we will receive. That whether we understand His ways or not, we just trust Him. That whether we get everything that we want, or not, we know that it’ll always entail a purpose, or a learning that God wants us to experience. It shows us that God has a hand on everything in our life, and it is up to us to just let Him do His work, after we have done ours.