Sunday, April 10, 2011

The True Victory Is in Moving Ahead

Seems as if when someone asks me about my favorite movie I always get stuck.There are so many of them and for so many reasons. But make no mistake about it 'The Poseidon Adventure' is one of them! Gene Hackman is on of my favorite actors and of all the movies of his that I've seen, this has got to be my favorite scene of his.

He plays Rev. Scott, a cocksure young minister with answers to questions he doesn't fully grasp. He thinks man is the answer to his own problems and that God helps us as we help ourselves. To some degree he has it right and he provides leadership that gets these survivors through the disaster of the Poseidon's sinking. In the end after tragic losses of life, uncertainty and conflict, he gets them to safety although, as you see in this scene, he sacrifices his life to do so. Interestingly enough (at least to me), this is the only scene in which Scott prays!

After seeing this movie for the umpteenth time recently, I think I understand why I like this movie so much.

In the great ventures of life, the journey follows much this same pattern: periods of too much certainty; periods of doubt; conflict and challenge; individual acts of heroism and episodic debilitating fear; for those of us who are believers, there are times when we could almost swear the God in whom we trust and to whom we've sworn allegiance seems like the Enemy! Ironically, in the end it's the minister who shakes his fist in the Face of God and then in emotionally, physical and spiritual exhaustion passes on leadership to the his antagonist (Rogo), that he knows he has. Also, in the end, we see that Scott has given up too early. Did he know that? Or was it that he simply didn't have the strength to see the venture on to the end?

In my view, Scott was wrong about something. Faith is more than just confidence in your ability to handle a situation. Faith is about the willingness to continue - with confidence and with doubt. It is about suffering loss and questioning at critical periods when you can least bear loss and least afford questioning. Faith is about continuing to move forward, 100% convinced that you are headed in the right direction, while you admit, at points that you might be at least 50% wrong. It is about going on until you can no longer afford to go back.
In the end, what I learn from Scott is that 'a little while longer' may be just enough time to achieve the desired goal. Even when we feel betrayed by God as we've understood Him.

For me, it's another way of understanding Hebrews 11:1, 'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.'

Those of us who undertake battles bigger than ourselves, learn over time that the pathway to fulfillment of the purpose of our lives isn't linear. It's not obstacle free, worry free, or even catastrophe free. But it cannot be faith free. We have to go on. Call us naive, but we have to be the ones who see victory just ahead...because the true victory is in the determination to keep moving...

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