I love movies. What about you?
One of the cool things that happens every year at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention is that participants receive opportunities to preview Christian films that haven’t hit the market yet. I wanted to participate in all of the screenings, but because of schedule, could only watch two: I Can Only Imagine, and God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness.
While sequels rarely live up to the original offering, I believe the third God’s Not Dead movie is the best yet. It is all too indicative of current times. The main character, Reverend Dave Hill, portrayed by actor, David A. R. White, experiences the burning of his church, the death of one of his pastors as a result of the fire, and then finds himself in a battle with the local university to retain his property.
There are a few twists and turns in this story. Characters have to deal with anger, must determine the right thing to do, and ultimately, there is an element of forgiveness. I believe the movie will keep you engaged. God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness will be in the theatres March 30th and we all need to support it when it first comes out. By the way, here’s something new I learned at NRB. Lead actor, David A.R. White, is also the Founder of Pure Flix, the company that produced the film.
Already released is I Can Only Imagine.
NRB attendees had the opportunity to hear about the film from one of the stars, actor Dennis Quaid, who played the father of Mercy Me lead singer, Bart Millard, portrayed by J. Michael Finley. The story is about Millard’s volatile relationship with his physically abusive dad. During Millard’s dad’s terminal illness, his father gave his heart to Jesus, he and Bart reconciled, and the song, “I Can Only Imagine” was birthed.
What I realized from this movie is that there is always a story behind the story. I’ve listened to Mercy Me songs for years and never realized that the lead singer endured horrific abuse as a child. Often times all we see is the glamour and talent of a performer. We rarely think that their talents were born in emotional pain. It gave me a new compassion for the group and what Millard overcame personally.
What if we had compassion for everyone in this way?
What if we took the time to ask acquaintances the question “What’s your story?”
I don’t do this enough. Always in a hurry to get from Point A to B, listening to a person’s story takes time that I don’t have, but so many people want someone to pull up a chair and bend an ear. They want a person to understand where they’ve been and how far they’ve come. They need a healthy dose of the unconditional love God offers through us.
Everyone has a story, whether it’s the band leader, our next-door neighbor, the bank teller, or the mechanic fixing your car. What if we built margin into our day to make room for those “God appointments?” What if we didn’t pack our schedule so tight that we barely have the time to utter “Good morning?”
We will never hear those stories unless we clear our calendar for room to connect, in the same way we set aside time for a two hour flick. By asking, “What’s your story?”, God may use us, not only as a listening ear, but as His conduit for healing.