The Theology of Waldo

Written by: James Thompson

Awhile back, a friend of mine, Amy Dalke, informed me that no one was currently writing a post on Thursdays and that, if I wanted, I was free to submit a posting. So, I kindly thanked her for letting me know and filed it mentally in my “Nope” file. Well, never say never.

My Bible study class is going through John Ortberg’s God is Closer Than You Think study. During one section, Ortberg illustrates that concept of God always being near with Where’s Waldo. His point being simply that God is always present whether you see/feel him or not. Thinking about it for a few minutes, it was surprising to me how deep that analogy can truly be.

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1.         God is always present. 

Whether we see/feel him or not (and sometimes whether we are wanting him to be or not), Got is always with us. Matthew 28:20 – “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

2.         We are to seek his face.

The point of Where’s Waldo is to find Waldo. Just like the goal of Christians is to be in communion with Christ. 1 Chronicles 16:11 – “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”

3.         Seek and you shall find.

If you seek out God, you will find him. Matthew 7:7 – “seek and you will find.” If you have diligence and patience, you will ultimately find Waldo. However, if you, like me, lack these traits, and come across a particularly hard Waldo page with an un-find-able Waldo, just tell the kids that they can watch Frozen again while you hide the book.

4.        You must not be distracted by imitators.

What makes Where’s Waldo pages challenging, is that there are many things and people that look like Waldo and take our attention. There’s Waldo…no, that is a lumberjack with a red and white checkered shirt at the mall. There’s Waldo…no, that is man wearing a white suit that has been splashed by red paint at train station by someone not paying attention. There’s Waldo…no, that is a red and white striped pole on a carousel filled with and marching band members wearing bunny ears.  There’s Waldo…no, that’s a guy wearing a guy wearing a (very) short pair of red and white striped swim trunks next two a lady with a red and white striped towel who is a few inches away from a red and white striped umbrella at the beach near a boy who just got beaned with a red and white striped beach ball. [These are all actual examples taken from Where’s Waldo pages.]

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We are to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and not be distracted by things/others that are trying to take the place of Christ either deliberately or because of our own tendencies/desires. We must not be easily distracted and must remember to “seek his face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11.

5.         The more you seek Christ, the more likely you will see him.

Although I have not actually tried this, I am assuming that more Where’s Waldo books you “read”, the better you will be at finding Waldo. I think that it is the same with Christ. The more we get distracted with the busyness of our daily life, the more we may forget or neglect to seek out Christ in all we do. I find that this leads to the inability to see Christ in the things that happen to, and around, us. If we are more in tune with Christ, I believe it helps to see him or, at least, seek him out in all we do.

6.         Remember Point No. 1 – Christ is always there.

Like Where’s Waldo, we must remember that Christ is always there. He may be obfuscated by many things that we have put in way such as possessions (ex: lumberjack at mall), our leisure plans (ex: trips to the beach), our jobs (ex: fixating on work all the time), and daily grind/schedule (ex: kids to band practice – with or without bunny ears).  So, maybe there is more to Where’s Waldo that meets the eye. Even if it takes your eye some time to meet up with Waldo.

These were my initial thoughts on gospel of Where’s Waldo.

 James

2 thoughts on “The Theology of Waldo

  1. Thanks, James! Great analogy and much food for thought. You can write for us on Thursdays anytime! If you write it, they will come…….. 😉

  2. For every believer, God is nearer than their very breath; His hand is upon them, His arm around them, His smile upon them, and His footprints alongside them.

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