In J.K. Rowling’s famous tale of wizards, Harry Potter discovers something about his own heart when he stumbles upon the mysterious Mirror of Erised.
When he finds himself in front of this magic mirror, he is entranced by the image reflected back at him. On the surface of the glass he sees himself standing with his two smiling parents, both of whom had been tragically killed years before.
Erised is desire spelled backwards. Professor Dumbledore reveals to Harry that the one who looks into this enchanted glass sees inside himself, right into “the deepest, most desperate desire” of his heart. As for Harry, his heart aches for his parents, and he longs to have his family back again.
When Dumbledore catches Harry revisiting the mirror, he warns him that many have “wasted away” before this looking glass, “not knowing if what they have seen is real, or even possible.” Dumbledore knew that if Harry fixated on his deep desire, his longing gaze would become an obsession that would consume him. Such a fate for Harry would be tragic.
Now, I’m not a wizard, and I haven’t been marked on the forehead with a lightning bolt, but I have been divinely appointed and supernaturally equipped to participate in a cosmic battle of kingdoms.
And it just so happens that when I was poking around the attic of my heart, I stumbled upon a large object covered by a dusty sheet. When I pulled the cover back, I, too, discovered a mysterious looking glass. In the reflection I saw an image of something that my heart longed for, and long expected to receive.
I sat entranced before the mirror day after day. With my eyes fixed upon the object of my desire, my expectation became a demand. The thing I wanted became a thing I couldn’t live without.
I was wasting away in front of that enchanted mirror until the Spirit came and covered the glass. Then the Spirit presented me with a gift of another mirror, and invited me to gaze upon it continually. I noticed some letters etched deeply into the ornate frame: Mirror of Epoh.
Upon looking into the glass, I saw every longing of my soul answered, every craving of my spirit satisfied, and every desire of my heart fulfilled. What I saw clearly on the surface of the glass was not a might-be, but a shall-be, not a wish, but a guarantee. When I fixed my eyes upon the Mirror of Epoh, I stopped wasting away, and started coming alive.
When we give Jesus His rightful place as the deepest desire of our hearts, we will also discover our deepest satisfaction in Him. And when we lay a firm hold of the sure hope of our future inheritance in Christ, we are able to let go of our demands to have all other desires fulfilled now.
My experience with these two mirrors has taught me that the truth about hope is always worthy of more reflection.