Saturday, January 24, 2015

Trust and Then Trust Again

image used under Public Domain license, photo obtained from pixabay
Proverbs 3:5 (KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Courtesy of the Google Play store, the movie "Gravity" is now in my small arsenal of movies to watch and rewatch, free of charge.  I'm not one who often can watch a movie or TV show and come away with some Christian lesson.  I know people who can do that on a regular basis, in sufficient detail to blog about it. When I get those ideas, they're basically seed thoughts, as is pretty much the case today.  But today's takeaways are more directly related to the movie's storyline.

The illustration for today's post didn't come from the movie, but it very well could have.  Some of the scenes were very close to that.  They were depicting the procedure of at least one of the astronauts being solidly tethered while working on repairs to a shuttle or space station.  Although the thought it brought to mind came later, it's a good place to start.

In a low or no gravity situation, the push required to turn something or insert something would create a counter-force to push an astronaut away from what they are doing.  That's because of the lack of gravity that would normally hold them in place.  That solid arm keeps them from drifting away.  It also gives them something to push against to be able to exert force to push or turn whatever they're working on.  That brought to mind a spiritual analogy.

Whether we're thinking of believers who aren't necessarily well aligned with God or unbelievers, there's an interesting comparison.  The greater our connection with God, the stronger our relationship to Him.  He supplies the connection, but we have to use it.  If we don't we can intermingle some very opposing thinking, such as with the death penalty.

There are those who argue that the death penalty is inhumane, while suggesting that poking, stabbing and tearing apart a living fetus is OK.  A possibly inhumane death for a prisoner who himself inhumanely killed people is said to be an unjust punishment.  Yet, killing a fetus whose only crime is existing is considered a mother's right to her body, ignoring the rights of the fetus.  And that's excused by suggesting that the fetus isn't sufficiently formed to feel pain or to be considered viable life.  Yet, we can go explore the universe for forms of life and consider a single cell to be sufficient.

We could go on with that, but the death penalty and abortion aren't the point, here.  They're merely examples of the muddled thinking that occurs when there's little or no connection to God.  Among other things, there's selective valuation of human life.  Like the astronauts, no gravity and not having a solid tether will give us little or no Godly force in our efforts.

Proverbs 3:5 (KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

What really struck me with the movie was Sandra Bullock's character and how she dealt with trials. George Clooney very much played George Clooney.  At least he was close to his own public persona -- appearing to be a strong male, confident in all situations, experienced, knowledgeable, etc.  George's astronaut directed Sandra in her tasks.  And, later, sacrificed himself so that Sandra had a chance to make it back to earth.  Only one of them had that possibility and he apparently determined she had a better chance.  While there could be some Biblical truths discussed from his self sacrifice, it wasn't what God highlighted for me.

Miss Bullock was very much like many of the rest of us in troubled situations.  The first response was confusion, followed by panic.  That, of course is when George shows his level headed leadership qualities.  And, eventually, his self sacrifice.  It instills calm and a higher level of confidence in Sandra's character.  Even through more disasters.

We eventually get to a scene where all of Sandra Bullock's resolve is gone.  She believes she's done all she can and is doomed to die in space.  She is, by then, in a foreign space capsule, where she turns down the oxygen level.  Her plan is to pass out so she isn't conscious when she runs out of oxygen.  We see Clooney reappear and give her a pep talk, only to see that he's not there.  But the pep talk does its job.

No, I'm not going to tell the ending.  But the return of George Clooney got me thinking.  What about similar stories where people have seen and heard deceased loved ones, who have given the right instruction or the right motivation to get them out of disastrous situations.  We've heard stories of people hearing from God with answers to their troubles.  Some of those are easily discounted as hallucinations.  Those are far enough from normality that it's impossible to take them seriously.  But what of the rest?

In the Bible, we see Moses go up on a mountain to meet God.  Mary has an angel tell her that she's with child, it's a boy, and the boy is the Son of God.  And we see various visitations of angels or the Angel of the Lord (usually taken as some spirit form of Jesus Christ).  As Christians, we take all those instances as real.  But we never know how physical all those are.  Indeed, there's an instance of Jesus telling followers they can't touch Him because He hasn't ascended yet.

We're willing to admit that God may communicate to us, but never in conflict with Scripture because verses like Mark 3:24 saying "And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.".  At  the same time, we'll say God isn't communicating today, usually pointing to things in the Bible that we say are the only way God is going to communicate.  Or that we know the age/era for that kind of communication has ended.  And my question for that is "Why?".

We say that our Christian God is all knowing, all powerful, and personal.  If that's true, then He knows our every need, is capable of meeting that need, and is very likely to meet it in whatever way is necessary because He cares about us, both as part of the Body of Christ and individually.  I've had several instances where situations have been terrible.  And no one was around to provide the kind of comfort I needed, sometimes lessening physical pain, but I've sensed the presence of God, including the physical sensation of a comforting arm around my shoulders.  No words, just a comforting presence.  Could that be my imagination trying to deal with physical or emotional pain? Sure.  But I believe my God to be personal enough to care about my needs and deal with them, personal enough to let me know I'm not going through them alone.

Yes, I'm enough of a skeptic to question individual experiences.  Except my own.  Yes, you can laugh at that one.  Honestly, I think we need to be skeptics.  There are enough instances of fakes and hallucinations that we need to test the spirit of each situation.  At the same time, we don't want our miniscule understanding preventing God from being glorified where it's deserved.

Proverbs 3:5 (KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

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