“But, Jesus isn’t really here because I can’t see him!”
My own four-year-old barely got the words out between sniffs and sobs. It was a special Sunday night at our house: all four of our children were “camping out” on the playroom floor. (We live in Texas and it’s way too hot to really camp outside.)
After the lights went out, the big sister decided it would be an appropriate time to talk to aforementioned son about the monsters she’s seen coming out of the attic. Of course, the rope that opened the attic door was swinging just a few feet from his head as he listened to her stories. A few seconds later he rushed downstairs in a panic. Seeing the real fear in his eyes, his daddy pushed pause on the movie we were watching in order to comfort him with reminders that Jesus was real, with him, and protecting him.
Ironically, that movie was Heaven is for Real, a mostly true story about a four-year-old who visits (or somehow sees) heaven and has all of his fears–from arachnophobia to being alone–alleviated after a few minutes in the presence of Jesus.
Bottom line: Sometimes it’s hard to believe what we can’t see.
We had to pause the movie a total of eight more times. Four more times to settle down the playroom campers, three times to move said campers from the playroom back to their beds as the settling down never happened, and one additional assisted bathroom trip (which marked a milestone in the potty-training progress of my three year old so I have no complaints there.)
My only gripe was with the wife character. She was a little odd–always wearing skirts and dressed a little seductively. (Even pencil skirts-while folding laundry on the floor. Comfy?) Instead of walking she sort of slinked about and it personally made me a little uncomfortable. (Others I’ve asked about the movie didn’t notice that, so maybe it’s a personal problem!) To me she was half seductress and half the “weirdo” pastor’s wife stereotype (her unusual singing voice that graced their congregation regularly). I just didn’t get her…
But, as much as aspects of her character made me cringe, I appreciated the way the plot line showed the normal-ness of a pastor’s family and their struggles. A calling to full-time ministry didn’t equal a perfect or question-free existence. They jammed out to “We Will Rock You” in the car, got angry when life seemed overwhelming, and wrestled with believing just like we all do. This is a part of the story that I didn’t get from reading the book alone.
The line that struck me the most was in Todd Burpo’s (played by Greg Kinnear) sermon at the end. He asks his congregation this question: If you truly believe in heaven would you live different?
Let me say that again. In addition to relieving our fears, if we truly believed that heaven was a real place, that Jesus was real and with us always, would it change the way we live each day?
I processed that question as I went to bed last night. I thought about this blog and all of my friends who struggle with their body image and feel trapped some weeks in a cycle of dieting or body hate that consumes them.
I wondered: if we really believed that Heaven is for real would our dress size or the number on the scale here on earth matter all that much?
If I really believed that Heaven is for Real would I spend the day thinking about how I could spend more time in the gym or get to the mall to get more cosmetics or clothing?
If I really believed that this life was short and that the afterlife wasn’t…How would that change my body image battle, today?
What do you think?