It was so nice to see actors in a movie unapologetically talking about God, making Him a real part of life, even if it seemed more staged than natural. I'll take staged as long as it proclaims Christ.
I totally ate up the message of perseverance. Don't give up. Give all you've got, at all times, in all circumstances, striving to bring God all the glory. Expect God to do the miracle. He will give the strength you need. I found myself tearing up during the "pump-you-up" scenes. I get weary easily. I ask God all the time what we're doing, feeling frustrated at His plan. I needed that message and am pretty sure God's going to tell me more about this.
But one thing stuck in my craw. I didn't like it that in the end the main couple has been given everything they want. They say continually, "When we win, we praise Him. When we lose, we praise Him." But from the moment the main character aligns himself with God, his prayers are answered one by one in every aspect of his life. The football team gets new motivation, a revival hits the school, he gets a brand new truck given to him, the team goes from a losing record to winning the state championship in a matter of weeks and his wife gets pregnant after being told they had a 10% chance of conceiving. Then two years later, they've won another championship, the couple has an adorable son and another baby is on the way.
I like happy endings as much as the next person, but does anyone's life turn out this way? Isn't it too simplistic to suggest if you honor God, He'll give you everything you want? It reminds me of Satan's comment to God about Job, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
I wanted to see more praising God when they didn't get what they wanted. Yes, there were two scenes they did, but afterwards they got an unexpected berth into the playoffs and in the other the wife found out her test results were mixed up and she was pregnant after all. Everything turned out better than they imagined.
I'm not saying God won't do that for us. He can and He does, but it is my experience He more often asks us to trust without knowing or seeing or understanding. I have been blessed beyond measure, but I've also had lots of prayers God either answered no or told me to wait on. . .for an undisclosed time that never seems to come.
He is just as worthy of our love and adoration and praise when things don't work out as we hoped, as in the times he showers us with blessings. Let us not suggest following Him will make our lives turn out perfectly. We cannot expect God to be our fairy godmother and make all our wishes come true. May we trust Him to give and take away as He sees fit. May we learn to love Him more deeply as He does.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.