I was so excited to finally see the movie God’s Not Dead 2. I had to wait for it come out on video because as a busy mother of two children, I don’t get many opportunities to go to the movies. I am sure that many of you can relate to this reality as well. My anticipation was growing because I like to support Christian movies and I wanted to see a close friend’s sister, Trisha Lafache, in the returning role as Amy Ryan. She is pictured with me in the photo.
In the first movie, there are several storylines that center around Christians having to defend their faith to non-believers and learning to trust God in their circumstances. Amy Ryan is introduced as a theist journalist who criticizes them for their beliefs. Throughout the movie, her character is observing and trying to understand the unwavering faith and hope that they place in Jesus Christ. Towards the end of the movie, she is diagnosed with cancer and she has to battle the sickness alone. Amy makes the decision to pray and ask God for healing. In the sequel, it is revealed that she is healed from cancer, and her quest to know more about God continues.
God’s Not Dead 2 focuses on the character Grace Wesley, a teacher who is on trial for referencing a Bible verse in a history class, when responding to a student’s question about Jesus’ teachings. The judiciary system wants to challenge her response and end her teaching career; she must trust God, while defending her belief that she did nothing wrong. Although Grace stands strong in the face of public adversity, there are still moments when she cries out to God for strength and courage to stand for Christ despite the odds.
The storylines intertwine when Amy advises one of Grace’s students on how to show public support for her teacher while she is on trial. This opportunity gives Amy another chance to observe a Christian’s unwavering faith in the midst of criticism and obstacles. This assurance in God’s faithfulness, makes Amy want to gain a deeper understanding of Christ’s role in her own life.
Although the movies are fictionalized, the story lines are inspired by first amendment court cases. These films remind me of the responsibility that we have as believers of Jesus Christ to be a light in darkness. Also, that we will encounter situations designed to challenge us to pursue higher heights and deeper depths in Him. Through the perspective of these two women, we can learn several lessons that will renew our minds and will encourage us on our own faith journeys.
1. God will show us through life experiences different attributes of His character. Amy learns that Jesus is a healer and a friend that will never forsake you. I have also experienced Jesus as a healer and a friend. Our testimonies will encourage others to trust God as well when faced with difficult circumstances.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. Jeremiah 17:14
2. We will confront situations that will test our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. As I have been praying for the last two years that God will provide another job opportunity for my husband, I still have to remain confident that God is in control. Although Satan tries to shake my faith, God always sends me reminders to trust Him. When He closes a door, He knows what’s best for us and when the time is right, He will open the door that He has orchestrated.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. I Peter 4:12-14
3. Our life should always be a living example of the assurance that Jesus Christ is Lord. People will watch to see if your actions measure up to your words. This is the message that I connected with the most. Like the character Grace, I am also a teacher. My prayer is always that my students will notice a difference in my life and see the hope that I possess. We all share in that commission in our workplace and our places of influences. Ask God to give you creative ways to let your light shine, so that He receives the glory.
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:15-16
Your love for us is immeasurable. You show us your love everyday as you mold us more into your likeness. As we encounter obstacles today, help us to remember that each situation is an opportunity for us to become more like you and to shed the things that do not bring glory to Your name. Let our lives always be a reflection of the light that you have placed within us. When we look at our difficult circumstances, empower us with your Holy Spirit to not be discouraged, but to remember that you are always in control. Amen