This has been a bleak week for me.
I had a great weekend with old friends, and had high hopes that it would spring board me into a week full of contentment and thankfulness. High hopes, no payoff.
I enjoy depressing movies, I really do. They help remind me of how broken and messed up we all are. Country Strong, however, is one for the books. Never has a movies shocked me into sadness in the ending like this one die. Maybe I expected something a bit more hopeful form a country music film, or Tim McGraw, or a movie that made me a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow’s voice (which I now am…seriously…listen to Coming Home or Me and Tennessee and tell me you don’t like it). That movie was the beginning of my sad week. It took me from pondering depravity to near hopeless despair.
I like to call myself a negative realist. My friends think I am pessimistic. I think I just prepare for the eventual disappointment that life always brings (it does, we all know) without getting too down about it. Anyway, the movie ended on such a hopeless note that I began thinking of the hopeless lives that were being lived out everywhere, and I got really sad.
Now, as a follower of Jesus, I believe that He died on the cross for our sins, and rose again. And after beating death and coming back anew, He is in the process (yes right now) of making all things new. I call this advancing the Kingdom. Its often hard to imagine how that is happening in a world that is continually looking more bleak and dark. Its funny to me that a country movie is what pushed me into despair.
“What if nothing gets made new, it all just ends hopelessly,” I thought, as the doubts crept in. The beginning of my week was spent in much of a dark contemplative state, wondering how life could end so abruptly and hopelessly for so many people, yet I can still cling to my hope in Christ.
Then, when talking this out with a friend of mine, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness. He shared with me this verse:
Psalm 143:5-6 (ESV)
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
In the days of old (in my life) God has absolutely been faithful, and has not put my hope to shame. I can stand firmly on that.
So in order to remember that, I went for a run. This past year, some of the best times of talking to God have been when I was running on the trinity trails. We have hashed through a lot of stuff. I haven’t been running much lately because I did something weird to my knee, but I thought, who needs a knee, and I went for it. It was like visiting a favorite meeting place with an old friend. All the memories surely came rushing back of how exactly God has been faithful.
So the moral of the story, is when life looks bleak, lean into the Lord. He is faithful. He IS faithful. We can put our hope in Him.
Also, just don’t watch Country Strong unless you are ready for some depression to follow. But definitely check out the soundtrack.