We saw an advance screening of Paul, the Apostle of Christ last night. I thought it was a thought-provoking, educational, evangelical film although there were times I wondered if a scene was found in early supplemental writings to the Bible or just creative license. It definitely wasn’t a botched Hollywood rendition, however, but rather a more descriptive biblical account.
That said, there was one scene that was very profound to me. My husband told me that my DVR has ruined me as I lamented that I couldn’t just pause the film at that moment and really soak in what the Lord was showing me.
I won’t give you spoilers (though, technically, there are no spoilers in a biblical film) but I do want to set the scene.
A Roman guard under Nero, in charge of the prison where Paul spent his last years, has a daughter who is dying of a mysterious illness. The closer she gets to death the more he prays to his gods. He prays to every god he can think of but would not dare anger these gods by turning to the God the Christians call Lord.
As the doctors tell him there’s nothing more they can do and that she will surely die, he enters again into the temple, sacrificing an animal, pouring its blood all over his body, crying and wailing and pleading with the gods to save her.
As I’m thinking how absurd this is, the Lord shows me that this is a picture of the world today.
Particularly in America.
Because while we think we’re okay because we don’t worship false gods and idols like they did then, or like the Eastern cultures still do, we miss that we’ve put our faith in other things.
We run to the psychics, or the psychiatrist.
At best, we turn to our family or friends and voice fears and misery instead of to the Lord offering praise to the One who can actually change our circumstances.
Some seek comfort and pleasure in sexual immorality, violent or horror films, or escape into a computer where you can create your own reality.
Many never reach the point of wailing and pleading because anti-anxiety medications allow them to cut off all feelings.
As I watched through the fingertips shielding my eyes as the blood ran down his body and he desperately did everything he knew to do to change his circumstances, I understood.
He wasn’t even denying the Truth; he was scared of it.
What if he trusted in this God of the Jews and angered the gods of the world?
What if we did?
Better yet, what will happen if we DON’T?