“ For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Romans 8:38-39.

Why do we like the movie Saving Mr. Banks? I think we love this story because the redemption story it tells is one we never tire of hearing. Walt Disney tried for 20 years to obtain the movie rights from P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins. Mrs. Travers is a difficult Englishwoman. She fusses over every detail of the script. “No cartoons. Not your Mr. Dick Van Dyke. Laurence Olivier is great. No made-up words.” But over time, she comes to look at her past differently and look at what could be rather than what was. 

God does not look at our past, or trouble as we do, or as Mrs. Travers did. Where we see stress He sees opportunities. Where we see crisis, He sees growth. God’s purpose in times of crisis is to educate, and build us up. And when we learn from them and ride out these storms of life, we will see His promises fulfilled. It is not easy to see the joy and opportunities through times of problems. There is joy to be had if we can view the crisis as an opportunity and grow from it. Seeing the possibilities will help us become the person that we are capable of being for our benefit and His glory.

So when God tests you, or bad stuff happens, or when our past invades our present, we need to see it as a time to learn and to trust Him.  If we are honest, we would admit that we do not like going through trials. And trials often last longer than we care for them to last. I don’t like going through trials and for years my first instinct was to find ways to disentangle myself from them.

But over time, I had to rethink my strategy from what I wanted to viewing trials as a challenge from God designed to help me grow in maturity and strength. And then I was receiving a better blessing than I ever had before. I now see trials as opportunities to gain more strength and maturity. Our past, and our present adversity can and will become our tools to grow and learn from.  “…we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

Mrs. Travers past kept her from seeing that we need to see life as a series of problem solving and learning opportunities. The same is true of Christians. Because the problems we face will either overwhelm and overpower us or grow and develop us. So it is all about how we respond to them. Remember that God is at work in your life, even when you cannot see Him. You will have far more contentment and joy in your life when you cooperate and allow God’s love to rule in your life, and surrender your fears, desires and past over to Him.

And that is why we love Tom Hanks and Walt Disney and Travers Goff and Mrs. Travers. We want to hear the story of how people pulled themselves together and put their families back together, stronger and better than before. That is the story we never tire of hearing. And that just happens to be the story of redemption and hope, that Jesus seeks to write in each of our lives.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to you today to realize God has made you for a specific purpose? How will this knowledge change the way you look at challenges and opportunities?
  2. Are there certain trials that you have a hard time letting go and trusting God? Why is easier to focus on the obstacles rather than the possibilities?
  3. How would the movie Saving Mr. Banks been different if Mrs.Travers had fixated on the possibilities? How would her life be different?
  4. What are the benefits of forgiving someone? To you? To them? What do you give up by forgiving?
  5. Pray and ask God to provide you the wisdom to seize on the opportunities and possibilities He provides us.