One of the greatest and most beloved characters of all time is Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney often told of how Mickey came to him in a time of adversity. Walt had invented a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Several cartoons had been produced and released featuring the rabbit. On a trip to New York, Walt learned that a co-investor had found a quirk in the law and claimed all the rights to the rabbit character.

Walt was greatly disappointed, but resigned to the loss of his cartoon character. He didn’t have the heart to tell his brother Roy what happened and merely wired him that everything was going to be all right. On the train trip back to California, Walt started doodling on a piece of paper. There on the paper was a mouse. He originally wanted to call him Mortimer, but Walt’s wife suggested Mickey Mouse. Many of Walt’s friends said Mickey was Walt. Mickey the optimist and the dreamer.

Mickey did a lot for Walt, being the foundation of his entertainment empire. Walt himself reminded people, “It all started with a mouse.” Walt would also want to remind us that just when things are at their worst, the best things can happen.

J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.