Harrison Ford has a niche. As actors, being typecast isn’t ideal, but when the typecasting is that of the guy who is the last to know, who is the only one doing what is right, who then has to claw his way out of multiple attempts at his life and who trusts people to a fault and is always surprised to find out that they have betrayed him - the tendency (at least for Mr. Ford) is to ride that straight to the box office. And this is why we love good old Han Solo or Indiana Jones or Jack Ryan or Richard Kimball or the President of the United States. In fact, we all can find at least one major thing about every one of Harrison’s characters that we whole heartedly identify with, if not merely to have a desire to be as passionate as he always seems to be. We love it when people make things look easy, don’t we? We love to see and even experience a unicorn moment when someone has the ability to do something so effortlessly, it seemingly encourages us to get out there and give it a try. Whether we decided to go for a gargantuan hike after we watched the movie Wild or we wore one glove, white socks and attempted the moonwalk after we experienced our first Michael Jackson video; whatever inspired movement out of us, we too quickly realized that we had just witnessed a miracle that no one can duplicate the same way. Our expectation of an adventurous life as we studied archaeology was met with disappointment at the monotony of the detailed data input that is required - nothing like Indiana Jones! And so we walk away from the dream that we (for a brief moment in time) believed we could do all things. The lowered expectations of what we have come to anticipate from anything new or intriguing has helped us not to get caught up in the romance of putting ourselves out there. Until one day we find…
Philippians 4:13 (NASB)
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Short and to the point. This scripture goes against everything we have come to understand as “that’s life!” And all of the ups and downs and happy times and depressing times and the limitations and the failures and the successes and the injustices and the people getting away with things and the fairness and the kindness, all of it. The good, the bad and the ugly; all of it is tossed out the window with a scripture like this one. This is the kind of scripture only a character in a movie would attempt to fully believe in. This surely cannot be a literal ‘all things’ because along our way in life we discovered (probably the hard way) that we have severe limitations and we would be a fool if we believed otherwise. Of course this train of thought is whole heartedly condoned by smart men and women who only want the best for us and for humanity. The problem, however, is that this scripture is based on the spoken words of Jesus who jumped onto the human scene and changed everything and turned a bold statement like Philippians 4:13 into a TRUTH that made it into the final draft of the Bible. The thing about watching or reading about people (whether fictitious or from a time long ago) who make the hard stuff look easy, is that we quickly realize that when we try to do what they did we fail at our attempt to copy them. The long version, however, is that we aren’t meant to copy them, all that is truly required of us is to give it a go.
1 Samuel 14:6-7 (CEV)
“Jonathan and the soldier who carried his weapons talked as they went toward the Philistine camp. “It’s just the two of us against all those godless men,” Johnathan said. “But the Lord can help a few soldiers win a battle just as easily as He can help a whole army. Maybe the Lord will help us win this battle.” “Do whatever you want,” the soldier answered. “I’ll be right there with you.”
Each and every one of us has a glaring commonality. We are here and now in this present time. Every single generation and life that has gone before us, was in a present time that they were designated to be a part of. As Esther 4:14 conveyed it, “for such a time as this.” We know that we are headed into a future that gets wilder, stranger, more unpredictable and looking a lot less than that which we have been used to thus far. Up until this point, we have had it pretty good. We have seen a solid green wave of increase as churches became the destination, everyone behind a pulpit published books, teaching material (that was free upon first hearing) turned a nice profit multiplied by a few times each week, private jets and state of the art equipment are now the standard and of course them pockets of the few in charge gained a thick lining. It has been a good run, that is, until 2020 showed up and universally leveled the field and exposed the lack of essential-ness. The larger than life persona that many Christian leaders have enjoyed has been chopped down so as to see the actual size of who they truly are; and equally so, the reverse has happened to those who have faithfully toiled year after year with much lesser numbers, as their spiritual hugeness has remained and has become a pillar amidst the dust settling all around. And our visual of Matthew 20:16 (NKJ) has become a neon sign visible by all, “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” What a time to be alive and steadfastly allowing our spirits to take rightful positioning in our lives, as we walk unscathed by the calamity and chaos all around.
Romans 8:16-18 (NASB)
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
This epic ending to a year unlike any other, has undoubtedly brought us all out of our ‘life as usual’ state of mind. We have been tested and provoked to believing the barrage of lies that have been non-stop spreading world wide. It is easy to see the big ones such as “if we are exposed, we are going to be sick” or “without that second stimulus check, we are going to lose everything” or what about “politics has no gray area, fair is fair” - oh, the many lies that have made up this year. But what about those subtle lies, which quite frankly have been with us for years and years? Things like “stepping out in faith looks different for us, than for pastors” or what about “we understand that the Bible is true, but all things just simply are not possible” or what about “if we aren’t getting results with God, we need to get help from humans.” Stack those up against our intellect and our street smarts and our experiences and all of these ‘so called’ lies are quite sensible and smart. But if we know that the Word of God is the ONLY STANDARD we need and by which all things must be measured against; then these LIES amount to just that and we become partakers of the TRUTH and as we begin to act accordingly, we find that God backs up every single thing He spoke or inspired. But the most crucial part is still yet ahead, as we are not to look at those who have gone before us as examples that we must copy, we are to learn from them and apply the lessons learned to our own 21st Century lives; knowing that we are one of a kind and there is but one common denominator in all of our stories - God Almighty.
Since we don't have at this time out in front of us, living examples of how to navigate the world ahead of us as we are truly living in never before seen times; NO WORRIES. We can count on the Captain of our Salvation (Jesus) to chart the course as He calls out from within each of us, that which all of creation is longing for. The revealing of the sons of God Romans 8:19 (NASB) "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God." Only as we listen closely to His call, will we become awakened to emerge from outside of ourselves in these last days to stand 'Jack Ryan' tall.
Although we find that we have an unexplainable sense of peace when we watch a guy who has more grit than sense as he navigates corruption and terrorism and evil people doing evil things; we must keep ourselves from thinking that sticking close to God during the days leading to the end of things will be easy peasy. Possible YES, rewarding ABSOLUTELY, purposeful OF COURSE - but it requires something from each of us that we may or may not be used to giving - OUR ALL, OUR EVERYTHING. Now we realize that OUR ALL is more than enough, by virtue of the fact that we are not holding back, we leave the door wide open for Jesus to show up as He always does - right in the nick of time, once again solidifying the enemy's defeat. Sounds just like our favorite Harrison Ford movie!