At The Movies: Wonder
Average movies entertain us. The best ones inspire us. There’s nothing like watching a good movie. You’re caught up in the story, on the edge of your seat, feet glued to the floor, a bucket of popcorn in your lap. We long for adventure. We long for good triumphing over evil. At the Movies this week is Wonder. Based on the New York Times bestseller, Wonder tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.
Something To Talk About:
Insecurity tears at our identity and keeps us from experiencing the quality of life God created us to enjoy. In our movie this week, Wonder, Auggie is insecure as he starts school due to a rare medical facial deformity. The reality is:
- We all are insecure at some point: We’ve all struggled with insecurity at some point and may very well again. It may be the way you look, what you can’t do or what you’re not. Maybe you might think you aren’t small enough, funny enough, athletic enough, successful enough, charismatic enough, talented enough, pretty enough. So what do we do? We do our own version of what Augie did. We put on our helmet. We cover our insecurity. We mask it. We hide it. We try to disguise it. In some ways, we might try to compensate for the parts of us we don’t like. Maybe we use filters on social media. Or wear name brand clothes. Or maybe we try to be the life of the party. Sometimes we might wonder deep down, why did God make me like this? I hope you understand that although you may feel ordinary, you are not. Psalm 139:14 says, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Look at yourself through God’s eyes. God sees you as precious and unique and of great value. In fact, you are perfect. Not perfect in the sense of a high IQ, flawless skin, and a great personality. But perfect for God’s amazing plan for your life and those you can help along the way.
- We all have marks: Scars. They tell stories, don’t they? We may have fallen off a bike or you had your appendix out or maybe they are emotional rather than physical scars. We all have them. God wants to make something beautiful out of those scars. What if we refused to avoid, deny, minimize, or run any longer? If you’ve ever been wounded, or have felt like you needed to hide the scars away from painful times in life, then you know how Auggie felt. Even Jesus faced great insults, wounds, and pain more than we could ever imagine. And He carried His scars right back into that little room where He met His disciples after the Resurrection. Sometimes I’ve wondered why He didn’t choose to let the scars fade away. He’d gained victory over death. He’d made all things new. Yet He still had scars in His hands, His side. Maybe He knew we’d need to be reminded of this truth throughout our own lives: His scars, and ours too, are all part of His beautiful story at work. He redeems. He heals. He sets free. He restores. He gives great purpose even through seasons of brokenness and grief. And the scars are left there to prove it.
- Faced with disappointment, we have a choice to make: It is what we do with disappointment as followers of Jesus that is most telling. Sometimes we can view Jesus as our spiritual candy machine, dispensing dreams and hopes at the push of a prayer. God wants us to be happy, so we just need to pray and believe hard enough. But the reality of Auggie’s and our Christian life speaks otherwise. Disappointment is part of life. As believers, we shouldn’t be surprised when things don’t work out, when we face difficulty, or when life is disappointing. We work hard for a promotion only to have someone else get it. We’ve turned thirty and there’s no ring on our finger. The pregnancy test comes back negative. But there’s gospel hope even in the midst of our disappointments. As Jesus said, “In this world, you will have sorrow, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He uses our struggles and challenges to make us increasingly more like Christ.
- Auggie describes himself as “ordinary.” Do you agree? What makes someone ordinary? What is ordinary about you? What is not ordinary?
- Why does Auggie want to be ordinary? In what circumstances do you want to just fit in with those around you?
- Fill in the blanks with your current and honest perception. Sometimes I wish God made me less ______ and more ______.
- Is insecurity a real problem? What Biblical figure do you equate with insecurity? What lessons can we learn from him or her?
- Do you tend to be confident or to doubt yourself? How has that tendency influenced your decision-making?
- What challenges or setbacks have you experienced that makes you doubt if God is on your side or if you’re capable of living the life He wishes for you?
- If there’s a difference between the way God sees you, and the way you see yourself, you are the one not seeing straight. Agree or disagree and why?
- God has a security, an identity, an understanding of who you are in Christ that no circumstance, no pain, no mistake, or no adversity can take away from you. Agree or disagree and why?
- Everyone has scars. Auggies scars were external where all can see. How do we deal with physical and spiritual scars?
- What is a scar that you have that you hope no one ever sees or knows about? Can those scars dictate how we live our lives?
- What would you change this week as a result of this movie?
Take one thing home with you:
Have you ever wondered how God could love us enough to send Jesus into the world to die for our sins, to give us hope, to free us from fear, and reveal the depth of all God has planned for us? Do you marvel that Jesus would leave His home in glory and humble Himself as a man, and go through all the trauma of this world, and eventually die on a cross? Perhaps the answers to these questions are found in Jesus telling His disciples to become like little children. A child’s life is filled with wonder, and this sense of wonder enables him or her to see things in life that escape the rest of us. A child can stare at a lighting bug with an imaginative interest that adults can’t. Warren Wiersbe (excerpted and adapted from Real Worship) said, “Christianity is supernatural. It is about God in the flesh. It is about the wonder-working power of the blood of Jesus, which paid the debt of our sin. It is about a Savior who died and rose again. It is about the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to live in us, produce fruit in us, guide us, teach us, convict the world of sin. If the concept of the miraculous is lost to Christianity, it is no longer Christianity, according to the Bible.”