When it comes to Hollywood, I would never make it in “The Industry”. For starters, Southern Cal has two seasons: sunny dry heat, and fire. And here in the Midwest, we may have our tornadoes, but at least there’s some warning. Earthquakes, on the other hand…
Another more compelling reason for my inadequacy has to do with the media itself. (Never mind the obvious fact that I’m not an actor.) There’s just so much #@!*! that comes out of Hollywood! Add to that my own personality flaw that wants every movie to have a puppies-and-butterflies ending. I have enough drama in my own life, so if I want entertainment, I don’t need to be feeling depressed when the credits roll, y’know?
Consequently, when the old movie, Evan Almighty, popped up on our cable after a long day at work, Bob and I were mildly interested. Great, let’s see how badly they mash up this story. So it was with a little trepidation that we tuned in, keeping the remote close by.
I was amazed. (Spoiler alert!)
Can anything good come out of Nazareth Hollywood?
Check out some of the messages:
- When our place of worldly power and prestige collides with God’s calling on our lives, how do we respond? What seems foolish in the world’s eyes may actually be God’s wisdom and possibly a covert plan for our protection. Evan, our erstwhile, 21st century Noah, was laughed at, vilified. Admittedly, I felt the pull within me, the pain of shame and embarrassment. How would I respond?
- No matter how hard Evan tried to hide the “glory” of his personal reconstruction that was in progress, God wouldn’t allow that to happen. In fact, in trying to hide it and conform to the world, Evan was put in a position of greater embarrassment. Eventually, he comes to see even his moments of trial were “because You love me”…
- …since God had more in mind than this Noah could even fathom. What Evan needed to do was obey, and trust the outcome to God.
- Which brings us to a place in the movie where God laughs at Evan’s plans, not in derision, but because they are way to small. As are our own.
- And of course there was definite sweat equity involved for Evan, including bruises and abrasions, physically, mentally, relationally. Generally, God’s plan requires more than our mental assent; we have to get our hands dirty.
- I also love that Evan’s “Noah” was on this side of grace, which meant the people mocking him didn’t die in this particular flood, but made it onto the Ark in time. In fact, Evan was pleading with all the people, the very ones mocking him, to get on the Ark, and even at the last minute when they finally realized their true peril, Evan ushered them in. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
- We also see God working behind the scenes moving pieces into place. People still have to make their own decisions, but creatively, God opens the opportunity giving His wisdom a chance to work.
- Finally, it was Evan allowing the glory and calling within him to work that ended up saving his neighbors, his family, and his own life, while at the same time exposing and preventing further evil.
- And I love the end, when Evan, now well-shaved, busts a few moves with the Almighty joining in
God has His own plan.
Okay, so the theology wasn’t complete, but what was there was real truth, possibly more authentic than they understood. Or maybe…
Just maybe God Himself had embedded a few of His own people in the process of writing/editing/acting/producing…influencing. God’s calling is just that—God’s calling, which means He puts us where it is dark and bland to make us Light and Salt.
A parting thought:
It would behoove us to be careful not to mock or a priori reject Evans that seem outside our 21st century Venn Diagram. God has a history of doing some pretty weird things to accomplish His purposes, like a talking donkey, or delayed sunset.
Then there was something about an empty tomb.