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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Quest for Faith

He stood there with his hand over his heart. This was the moment. This was the last step.

Soon, the end would come. The answers would come.

He'd know.

But for now, in this moment, he had nothing. No promise. No fateful conclusion. No prophetic understanding.

He only had the sweat on his face, the fear behind him, the fear before him, and his father near death.

Indiana Jones stood at this precipice. There was no way across, only endless nothing below. He needed to step out. But onto what? He must step, needed to step, was destined to step out.

"You must believe boy. You must," his father whispered, in a feverish delirium dying from a gunshot wound.

There, at the Lion's head, he had only once choice – faith. He HAD to step out on faith. There was no way across, no other option. This bottomless trial couldn't be jumped over, flown across, climbed over or ignored. His trust whip was useless.

He had to walk it, even into the middle of only air, even in the existence of nothingness.

He placed his hand over his chest, trying to still his racing pulse, and made the choice. Because it was a CHOICE. He decided to believe. Then, and only then, did he lift his left leg, stretch it out, and step into nothing he could see or feel, hear or touch, know or a understand. Nothing.

And that is where he found sure footing. There, before him all along, was a solid path, made of stone, immovable and unbreakable. It was carved into the very foundation of the rock.

From his perspective, this was giving up his life. But from a different angle, you could see the truth. He had been perfectly safe all along. That rock path had been there forever and would be there forever. But he didn't find it, not until he stepped out first.

Okay, so it's only a movie. A great movie, but a movie nonetheless. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. A timeless piece of cinematographic history.

But I watched it today. I sat here, fighting a constant trial that refuses to release me, wanting to escape to any other reality be it in a book or movie. And I watched this, seeking disillusionment but finding, possibly, a bit of clarity instead.

A friend recently told me to embrace inadequacy. Love it. Because that's when God moves.

"God can't use you until you're inadequate," she told me. "That's when God gets excited. Have you any idea how excited he gets?"

I didn't.

I sat there listening to her feeling every inch of inadequate and wanting more than anything to see God move. But that was days ago, an eternity it seems, infinite time in the realm of inadequacy. And yet here I still am, no sign of movement.

It's been a tough lesson for me lately. This whole business of faith. What is it exactly? How much are we expected to have? How often are we suppose to use it? And how far can it stretch before it begins tearing and shredding at the seams?

Who knows.

I can't say an answer has come. I reach the end of my faith only to find I'm expected to continue on. And somehow, by spoon fed grace, I appear to keep moving.

It's a mystery and a forgone conclusion at the same time. I cannot explain God but I can always depend on Him. I cannot determine His actions but I can always know His heart. This is the only thread of faith I have. And perhaps it's all that's needed.

I watched Indiana, struggling with this last trial before reaching the Cup of Christ, and saw myself. I wasn't standing there on the ledge. And I wasn't standing on that solid path to my future either.

I'm in the in-between.

I'm just here, holding my heart, trying to calm my racing pulse, feeling the sweat on my face, the clamminess in my hands, the trembling I can neither pinpoint to my stomach, knees, or knowledge.

I'm just here. I'm raising my left foot, preparing to step out, and finding the moment interminable in length, though it is nothing but a moment.

Because if my faith is right, and Jesus promises me it is, then this bottomless trial is nothing more than scenery beside a surefooted pathway. This is just the step before hitting solid ground.

Thanks Indiana. I needed that.


(Dedicated to Annie)

4 comments:

kristin said...

:)

Jason said...

Very interesting post. . .enjoyed the movie

chris wilke said...

I love this blog! Was it up before on myspace or something like that?

Stuart said...

Me too. An associate Pastor actually used the movie and scene to try and get me to see my need to take that step of faith. I was stuck. Unable to move forward and join a methodist church in the dallas area. Her use of this movie scene is what convinced me to do it. I'm not sure if that is good or bad to be honest, but I did take it, nearly two years ago.

Still, I often feel like I'm still on the other side, or have only taken a step or two, stuck in the middle of the chasm, freaking out. Great post. Thank you for it.