Have you heard of (or seen) the film, God’s Not Dead? Our family recently watched it together and not surprisingly my pastor/husband found lots of opportunities to hit the ‘pause’ button to spark extra family discussion.
In the movie, the main character, Josh, is challenged when a college professor insists all the students write “God is Dead” on a sheet of paper. When Josh refuses, the professor says he must then defend God’s existence to the class over a series of debates throughout the semester. As the subplots develop and the film advances, we see how one guy’s bold stand for Christ affected the lives of many around him. Not just the professor who he was primarily up against, but those bystanders and classmates who God providentially placed in Josh’s path.
I lead with this because when my daughter, who is a junior at a public high school, came home telling me about the discussion in her AP English Language class this film is what I thought of. The scenario was totally different and in no way am I comparing her teacher to the professor nor was she challenging anyone’s views. I want to be clear on that!
The class is studying the Puritans and was taking a look at Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” After reading it a class discussion ensued. And as my daughter has previously discovered through the debates in this class, except for just one like-minded friend, she stands alone in her convictions.
But here’s the deal that I also want to state clearly and is actually my point in writing this: I am thankful for this opportunity and challenge!
She is being exposed to varying view points that attack hers, but instead of shying away not knowing what to say she is being stretched by having to articulate what she knows to be true. As a mom and a believer, this makes me so proud!
It makes me proud to see her understanding why theology matters. If her understanding of Christianity was built falsely on rules and moralism it would be a pretty unappealing case. Because apart from knowing the depth of her own outward and inward sin and great need for a Savior, she may also not see how “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is actually a testimony of His grace.
It makes me proud to see her not staying quiet with what she believes even though she is in the stark minority. I trust because of these experiences she will be better equipped as she goes out into the world on her own.
It makes me proud to see her passion. Passion for defending the gospel, knowing it is because of God’s great love for His people that He gave His Son! Passion for others to hear the glorious and gracious truths about God.
It makes me proud to see how God is using her as an Instrument in His hands. Like in the forementioned movie, Josh had no idea how the Holy Spirit would use his words to change hearts and neither does she. But God tells us that His Word will not return void.
I have to believe that the exact people who are in this class, who seem like they are all against her, were providentially placed together. And like in the movie when Martin, a foreign exchange student sitting in Josh’s class, converted to Christianity as a result of hearing the Word of God, I believe the heart of someone sitting in AP English Lang could also be turned toward Him.
Whether this happens or not, or she knows it or not, God is not only Alive but He is Life. He sent His Son to experience His wrath so that we could rest in His loving hands. So that we could know His love and grace and find our life in Him. This is what I want most for my kids to know and why seeing it impact her brings me the most joy!