“And the call isn’t out there at all
it’s inside me
it’s like the tide
always falling and rising
I will carry you here in my heart
you remind me
that come what may
I know the way.
I am Moana!” – Songs of the Ancestors
Who doesn’t like a Disney musical? Who doesn’t have a soft spot in their heart for a princess that has a dream in her heart, a show tune on her lips, and a Polynesian choir for backup? Moana is one of the best if you want to experience those things. There are many Christian messages that can be squeezed from this movie, but at its heart, Moana is a call story. It is the story of a girl who follows her call, and through that journey, discovers who she is—and who her people are. In a way, that’s our story as Christians, too.
Moana struggles with her call until a crisis appears—the goddess Te Fiti’s heart has been stolen, and until it is returned, the islands are slowly dying. She is called to restore the heart. Once she discovers what it is she is called to do, she follows her call eagerly. She isn’t necessarily very good at it—if it weren’t for the ocean’s help, her limited sailing skills wouldn’t have gotten her very far. But she is willing to go, and that is all that was needed.
We’re not alone when we feel insufficient for whatever God has called us to do. The Bible gives us numerous examples of saints who doubted their capabilities. At the beginning of Exodus, Moses is called to a daunting task. From a burning bush, God hands him the responsibility of delivering the Israelites from Egypt. Moses questions God’s call on his life. Moses’s successor, Joshua, also despaired over his ability to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Esther feared to go to the king, knowing it was a risk to her life. Just as God equipped Moses to lead the Israelites with Aaron and his staff, just as God kept His promise to give Joshua victory over the Canaanites, just as God gave Esther the courage to go before the king, He will also equip us for the tasks He gives us. As Paul puts it, “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Corinthians 9:8). God doesn’t call us to something only to leave us to fend for ourselves. He is with us, He provides for us, and He enables us to finish the assignment.
At one point, Moana sees her mission as hopeless. We may come to that point as well. That is when we trust God. God loves to stretch us beyond what we think possible. Maybe you’re given a new assignment at work that seems overwhelming. Or maybe you’re asked to lead a small group when you feel unqualified. Whatever the calling may be, God wants us to remember the same thing He told Moses: He will be with us. He will equip us. As He famously commanded Joshua, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9).
- What is God’s primary call for all of us?
- Where do we go from here? What’s the next step God wants you to take? When will you take it?