In Series Five, Episode One, “The Eleventh Hour, Matt Smith’s first episode as the Doctor, the TARDIS arrives (with him in mid-transformation) crashing into the overgrown garden of Amelia Pond, age seven.
He doesn’t know that Amelia has just been saying her prayers (to Santa Claus). “Dear Santa, thank you for the dolls, the pencils and the fish. I know it’s Easter now. Hope I didn’t wake you…but it’s an emergency. There’s a crack in my wall. Please send someone to fix it; or a policeman…” and Amelia’s prayers are interrupted by the sound of the TARDIS arriving in her front yard…”Back in a moment, Santa….Thank you Santa!”
Now, I don’t think it’s at all fair to criticise Amy’s theology. She is a child of her post-modern generation and we need to accept her prayers with the sincerity they come wrapped in. If that is Christmas wrapping rather than pages of the King James Version of the Bible, well, she is not that far from the truth anyway is she? She was praying more than she knew to someone who knew her better than she knew him.
That is always the case when we are just starting our adventure with God; just starting to know him.
One of the first questions she asks the sorry looking man dragging himself from a badly beaten up Police Call Box is “Who are you?”
Smart girl Amelia though I doubt she took much encouragement from the Doctor’s answer, “Don’t know yet; still cooking.”
Neither would she take much comfort from his ‘3 commandments’; ‘Do everything I tell you. Don’t ask stupid questions. Don’t wander off.’ (Though there is more than just a grain of valuable pastoral advice in them, don’t you think?)
I’ll skip the ‘bad, bad, baked beans’ along with the fish fingers and custard because I am in a hurry to get to my point.
However desperately poor this Doctor’s reflection of the Living God may be (the LORD of All never sleeps, Amelia) it’s the picture of trust that I find in “The Girl Who Waited” and the nature of her experience that most interests me.
Never mind that he is slow to fulfil his promise; “I’ll be right back. Five minutes.”
Never mind that he expects her just to take his word; “Trust me. I’m the Doctor”.
Convinced of the truthfulness of this man who is so obvously the answer to her prayers (careful girls) she sets about packing her suitcase and dressing for the journey she is sure she will be taking “in five minutes”.
Jesus told his disciples how they should wait for the Kingdom of God;
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.
Twelve years (and four psychiatrists) later Amy has given up waiting though she has not entirely given up believing in her raggedy Doctor.
Why did she go through four psychiatrists?
“They said you weren’t real!”
But now that her Doctor has returned for her she can see that “what’s happening in the sky is real”.
The Enemy, however, (Prisoner Zero) tries to dissuade her from faith.
“Poor Amelia Pond, still such a child inside. Dreaming of the magic Doctor who’ll return to save her.”
But it’s not a dream Amelia. And remember,even Simon Peter (Acts12) thought the angel that came to break him out of prison was a vision until he discovered himself in the street, free to set off for a meeting with his equally disbelieving companions.
Amelia, though, has made her choice; convinced of the Doctor’s truthfulness by a special apple he offers her (now there’s a plot change) she has committed herself to him and follows him into danger and deliverance quite full of trust again.
Minutes later (isn’t television wonderful?) Prisoner Zero is back in the custody of the Atraxi (Intergalactic Policemen) who have been sent packing by the Doctor for their threat to ‘incinerate the Earthlings’.
Meanwhile after a scantly revealed visit to the still waiting seven year old Amelia in the TARDIS (more timey-wimey stuff) the Doctor now tells Amy, “You’ve waited long enough. Come with me.”
He offers her, “All of time and space. Everything that ever happened or ever will.”
So, it’s into the TARDIS with her Doctor and off to the stars.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2PETER 3:8, 9