At the time the book was published, the psychiatrist Bruno Bettelheim said the scary nature of the story wasn’t found with the wild things at all. It was found in the “time out” in the room itself. Being sent to one’s room alone, and without food, he argued, represents desertion, the worst threat a child can face. And maybe that’s what Sendak feared the worst.Read the rest here.
Those are the fears addressed by the gospel. Like children frightened by wild things, we retreat backward into the “spirit of slavery” and so “fall back into fear” (Rom. 8:15). The gospel, though, reminds us, all life long, that we have one who has gone ahead “as a forerunner” (Heb. 6:20). We hear a voice telling us to be “strong and courageous” for “I will not leave you or forsake you” (Josh. 1:5), no matter how wild you feel inside. He’s the only one with the authority to tell the devils who accuse us to “be gone.”
Maurice Sendak plumbed our ancient problem. I can only hope that, somewhere in those final moments, he saw the demon-crushing cross of Jesus. I hope he saw the one who went out beyond the gates of Jerusalem, to where the wild things are, and became king of all the wild things, forever.
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Dr. Moore's books:
Tempted and Tried
Adopted for Life
The Kingdom of Christ