There are times when nothing seems to beat the nostalgia of a great movie. The ability to escape our present reality and circumstances to assume one that we know not to be true has often been a source of comfort to many, even if only for a short time. This can be a serious negative for some but that is for another message. I love going to the movies and even more than that, can watch movies I have enjoyed repeatedly; to the dismay of my wife and admit it does strike me funny every time she discovers me watching a movie I have seen to many times to count. I guess the simple mind truly is a complex one and she would be quick to inform you of the possessor of that said mind.
A favorite of mine over the years is a 3-part trilogy called “Back to the Future”. For those not familiar, it tells the story of a boy named Marty McFly and his quirky, older scientist friend Doc Martin, who discovers the secret to time travel. Incorporating the technology into a DeLorean (DMC-12), they travel back and forth in time to correct the mistakes that plague Marty’s life and family. During the first movie Marty is taken back to the 50’s where he encounters several issues, that if not addressed, could alter his future permanently.
When realizing the gravity of certain situations, he often uses the term “Heavy” as a way of bringing perspective to the issue. Not understanding the term, the 50’s version of his scientist friend assumes there to be an issue with the earth’s gravitational pull. Thankfully there wasn’t as this was just a term of expression but, the reality for us is that there are many times we face circumstances that when fully realized, shake the very foundations of our world. It is those times where the weight sets in, leaving one scrambling for hope were it not for Christ. To bring context to the discussion I turn to God and the real-life examples found in his word.
In the book of Jonah, we read of a very real and wicked place called Nineveh. There about face rebellion was spurring Him to act. One would assume His first act to be judgment but, as we read, this is not so. In true form God displays his character though a posture of grace and it is this grace, communicated through his prophet, that leads to another about face for the people of Nineveh; one that turns them back to God. Jonah 3 v 4 – 6 and 10 state the following:
“Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.”
“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”
We see a similar situation played out with the Israelites in the book of Acts – chapter 2. Here Peter boldly proclaims the implications of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection, establishing Him as Lord and Messiah of all. They are broken when the weight of their role in the first two steps settles in. There despair is laid out for us to see in Acts 2 v 37:
“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” “
Again, the hope or the out so to speak, is found in only what God can do and has done through Jesus. In Acts 2 v 38 we read of what us Christians call the “Great Exchange”:
“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.””
If being honest, I’m sure we would all admit to moments of “I would give anything to undo or unsay that!”; I know I have mine. It is often those moments that lead us into spiritual crisis, also known as the dark nights of the soul. Were it not for the gospel of Christ, I certainly despair at the thought of where I might be. But, and it is a big but, it is because of his gospel and the saving grace found in it that my life finds it purpose and its motivation; a new life available to you also.
I can’t help but wonder as I write this, how many out there, how many of you might be experiencing a dark night in your soul; a consequence brought out of action or circumstance. Maybe your reading this or other writings I have done wondering why or where it comes from. Well, I’m here to say that the light of Christ has lighten many a dark time in my life, leaving me with only one response; that of Romans 10 v 14 – 15:
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
In his book, “Jesus Among Other Gods”, Ravi Zacharias shares the story of Sir Isaac Newton, his beloved dog and a time when he was hard at work in his efforts to unlock the mysteries of the universe. Comforted by the candle that lit the room and his dog at his side, he put his work to paper; or in that time parchment. Taking what I believe to be a break, he gets up to leave the room. His dog wanting to be where his master is gets up to go with him but inadvertently bumps the table with the candle on it, setting all his work ablaze. When Newton returns to discover what happened, he is dissolved to tears. Knowing his dog could never understand the gravity of what he has done, he simply strokes the dog saying, “You will never, never know what you have done.” Thankfully our loving Father, even when we fail to understand, knows the gravity of our situation and in love, restores what we have broken in his Son Jesus Christ.
Friends, I close with the words of our Savior found in John 16 v 33:
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
God Bless – Sean Bosse