Paying attention is one of our most underrated capacities. Our lives are greatly affected by what we do and don’t pay attention to. For example, if we’re inattentive to a bill’s due date, we’ll incur late fees. In the same way, if we ignore our emotions or try to blunt them, we’ll miss out on more deeply relating with others and God.
In the movie When a Man Loves a Woman, Michael is married to an alcoholic named Alice who becomes dangerously reckless when intoxicated. After every drunken binge, Michael would pick up the broken pieces and patch Alice back together.
Salt. It’s one of the world’s most valuable minerals and has helped advance modern civilization. Its preservative capabilities helped the ancient world prevent starvation by safely increasing the shelf life of meats and vegetables. Not surprisingly, the mining and trading of salt, along with transporting cured foods over long distances, became big business.
On the Sunday morning following Jesus’ crucifixion, a woman stood outside of His tomb weeping bitterly. Her dearest friend and mentor had just endured a grisly death. Now it appeared someone had broken into His grave and stolen His battered body (John 20:11-15).
Near the epic conclusion of Tolkien’s Return of the King, Frodo stands on the threshold of destroying the “One Ring of Power.” All he has to do is throw it into the consuming fires of Mount Doom. But the hobbit can’t do it. He holds on to the ring, powerless to let go despite the ring’s destructive power.
Those who’ve read through the Bible in a year know how challenging it can be to make it through certain stretches of Scripture. The second half of Exodus is one of them. After a compelling account of Israel’s dramatic rescue from Egypt, Moses devotes nearly a third of the book to describing in great detail the plans for building the tabernacle. Within all the details, however, lies a great story that’s just as true for us today as it was then.
The movie Deepwater Horizon depicts the true events of a tragic oil rig explosion that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. The sudden underwater eruption killed eleven crewmembers and created a massive oil spill.
The trailer for the epic World War II movie Saving Private Ryan contains these words: “In the last great invasion of the last great war, the greatest challenge for eight men was saving . . . one.” Jesus similarly told a parable about a shepherd who searched for one lost lamb. “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4). Christ told the story to illustrate how God won’t stop searching until He finds “the one” who’s lost, but I normally don’t see myself as “the one” needing to be found. I’m among those in the fold who think they are doing “just fine.” I’m the trained counselor who helps people, armed with the mission as a believer in Jesus to help and serve others who are lost.
Afriend opened up to me about the sexual abuse he suffered as a boy. Prompted by God to face what he had buried for decades, he courageously began to unpack tragic memories of seduction and exploitation, events that shattered his innocence and left him drowning in an ocean of shame.
The movie Stranger than Fiction depicts a man who begins hearing a voice inside his head. Harold becomes unglued as he notices the voice describing the everyday details of his life with extraordinary accuracy, “and with a better vocabulary.”