Meeting God at the Movies…
I’ve been doing some reflecting this week. This Sunday I watched a movie at the church that my wife and I attend. There was popcorn, candy, and a very large screen. Add to that the fact that there was also live music and great company, and it may have been one of the funnest church experiences I’ve ever had. Once a year, they use movies to illustrate ideas and principles taught by Christ.
Sunday’s movie was ‘Lion King’. One of the main scenes in the movie is where Simba’s father appears to him in a reflection and then in the storm clouds. I love the quote where his father tells him, “you are more than you have become.”
This was, in itself, an awesome lesson that I would love to share with you, but unfortunately, it’s one of those, “you’d have to have been there” moments. You could log onto http://www.oasischurch.tv and watch one of the always amazing messages for yourself… What was perhaps more significant to me though, and something that I can share to you is how much of an impact that moment in that movie impacted my life nearly 18 years ago.
I was 17 years old. My entire extended family had decided to have a movie night. There were probably about 20 of us that piled into several cars and drove from Knoxville to the Drive-In theater in Des Moines, IA. Also along, was the girl I had been dating for nearly a year. As the movie began to play, and we all laughed, and my girlfriend and I flirted – I think that perhaps it was one of those moments where I had in my possession everything that I had ever wanted up to that point in my life. I was surrounded by my best friends, and my family who loved me. I had a nice looking girlfriend, and… well, I had everything a 17 year old guy could want, and not a single significant problem that I can even remember.
When that scene came onto the screen though and Simba began to realize that the life he was living was something vastly different than the life he had been destined for, I suddenly became overwhelmed by the absolute emptiness in my life. I remember tears pouring down my face at the realization that I was missing some great part of my life. In fact, I was aware that it wasn’t just part of my life that I was missing, it was THE life that I was missing. As I sat there watching Simba talk to his father, I kept waiting for someone to ask why I was crying. After all, I wasn’t some kid that cried all the time. I was undefeated on the wrestling team. I had a pack of Marlboros in my pocket. I liked violent movies. It seemed to me that all of these people surrounding me who cared for me would notice what was probably the most profound moment that I have ever experienced up to that point in my life. No one did.
If you’ve ever experienced a time in your life when you held all that you had ever wanted, but at that same moment felt more empty than ever before, then you understand the ‘God Vacuum’ within each of us.
In those brief moments, I looked up beyond the theater screen and began to pray to the God I had only been briefly and occasionally acquainted with. I don’t remember the exact words, but I basically said, “If you’re listening, and if you care about me, I want you in my life.”
Over the next couple of months, God answered that prayer in amazing ways and began putting people in my life who functioned as His hands and His voice.
17 years later, I am completely humbled and still overwhelmed by the awesome reach of a loving savior that cared enough about me to reach into my life in such a beautiful and personal way. Thank you God!