finding God in the midst of my joys
Aside from family, my greatest chosen joy in this life is the cinema, and I have long struggled with loving something so much that often does not honor my God. I do find that my tastes have changed throughout the years, that I cannot tolerate certain things on screen that once were dismissible, but my love of movies still brings me to wrestle with the fact that I truly love the LORD but also enjoy stories that come to life on screen. It is a constant conversation with God, and, naturally, I do not listen as much as I speak. Much of my thoughts are a series of justifications for why this movie or that film is not so bad, that it’s not like I’m being affected by any of it to the point that my life or my morals have changed. Of course, this is simply one more way I deceive myself; in truth, everything I allow into my life will affect me in some way, and I am responsible for those choices, whether they are good or whether they are destructive. I know this, though I often refuse to think on it.
Still, God works in the most amazing ways, even in the midst of my failures. As I have been reading about the life of King David these past months it has been those very movie images that help me put myself in David’s shoes. When I read that God is a stronghold, a fortress when the battle rages, I conjure images of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers. When I read how God gives me His shield of victory, I think of Peter Pevensie battling the evil king in Prince Caspian. When I read God’s promise that He fights for us, that the Victory has already been won, I think of Eowyn in Return of the King letting loose her primal scream as she heads into the fray of battle. When I am reminded that God has given me the feet of a deer and enables me to stand on the heights, I think of countless climbers in films who have continued to find footing on their way up the rocky mountain paths. These movies that I love so much, that cause such dialogue in my heart, have allowed the Word of my God to come to life in my mind. Without the images, I would not understand quite so much of what I read; I would not be able to grasp the fullness of His Word.
The debate will continue to rage on in my heart, and God is continually adjusting what is acceptable to me in film and in print. I am confident that He will continue His work in me to completion, and I am willing to follow Him, even if that means giving up beloved things along the way. For now, I’m grateful for the way He uses what I love to teach me about His own love for me. And it astounds me that God is willing to do that — that He loves me enough to guide me through this life instead of simply giving up when I fail Him. There truly is no one like our God.