Christian movies are more prevalent than they used to be. The Perfect Gift, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Fireproof and Soul Surfer are just a few examples. But what many people fail to realize is that Christianity runs deeper through cinema than the obvious Christian movies. Apart from the dozens of films made each year that are set around religion in some way, a large number of mainstream movies have Christian imagery or ideas coursing through their veins whether intended or not.
In our current series, we are looking at some of those films. Unfortunately, as is the case with every teaching series, we are limited as to what we can cover, and this series is no exception. So for this blog article, I would like to talk about a film which we will not highlight on Sunday. That film is I Am David.
First, a quick movie synopsis: David is 12 years-old and is being held in a Communist re-education camp in Bulgaria, after being separated from his mother. He pulls out a letter and with an adult voice over (which repeats through the film), the voice directs him on how to escape from the camp. He has been told that he must get to Denmark. He doesn’t know why. David escapes from the camp and begins a spiritual voyage of discovery, where he slowly loses his instinctual mistrust of humanity and begins to smile, share, trust and ultimately, to love again.
Throughout the film, via flashbacks, we are introduced to David’s one friend in the camp, Johannes, played by Jim Caviezel. Johannes tells David that although life in the camp is terrible, they must always strive for a better life and then life can be good. In fact, he tells David in most places life is good. Finally, during a crisis in the camp, Johannes gives his own life voluntarily so that David would not be killed. It is the memory of this sacrifice which helps David persevere at times when he is despairing and tired.
David has several significant encounters that eventually leads him to Italy. His journey has a two fold purpose by helping him not only find a better place to live, but also to find out who he is and what he is worth. On several occasions, David calls out to God for help, and God helps him. Finally, outside of Milan he meets a nice elderly Swiss matron who after painting his portrait takes him across the border to her home and village. After spending some time with her, they discover that a book he has seen was written by his mother, who is living in Denmark. Mother and son are re-united.
Most of us are running from something or to something on a daily basis. In David’s case, he is doing both. David’s journey is much like the journey of those who are Christ followers. Like David, we too must listen to and trust one voice above all others in order to reach our destiny.
All too often what we are running from is God. In fact, there is a long history in the Bible of men and women running away from God. In Genesis, after Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible says that they ran away and hid from his presence. Moses ran away after he killed a man. David ran away from King Saul and hid in a cave. And when Jesus was arrested in the garden, the disciples ran away.
But I have learned in my life that running from God means one simple thing. We are going in the wrong direction. God has given us free will so if we choose to run away from God we can. But it doesn’t mean He won’t come after us. He does this because He knows that the only place we will find peace is in the middle of God’s will. It is absolutely futile to play hide and go seek with God because we will always lose. Jeremiah 23: 24 says, “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.”
No matter how fast I think I’m going, or how far I flee, or what I tried to hide under, I cannot run from God. He tracks me down, He finds me out. No matter where I go or what I try, He knows. And instead of being angry at me for my stupidity, He offers comfort and life. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)
Next time you think about running away run to Him consider this. If there were 1000 steps between you and God today, I want to assure you that God would take 999 of them. He loves me. He loves me so desperately. David found that out and so will you if you simply listen to that small voice and run to Him rather than run from Him?