A Leap of Faith
Sometimes, when I’m in need of deep spiritual guidance, I turn to the source of all wisdom.
No. I’m talking about classic movie quotes.
In the (admittedly uneven) 2013 movie Man of Steel, Clark Kent (a.k.a. Kal-El, a.k.a. Superman) has just learned that a General Zod from his birth planet has come to Earth with an ultimatum. He has 24 hours to turn himself in or mankind will face the consequences. Clark seeks guidance from a local priest. What should he do?
Father Leone: What’s on your mind?
Clark Kent: I don’t know where to start.
Father Leone: Wherever you want.
Clark Kent: That ship that appeared last night, I’m the one they’re looking for.
Father Leone: Do you know… why they want you?
Clark Kent: No, but this General Zod… even if I surrender, there’s no guarantee he’ll keep his word. But if there’s a chance I can save Earth by turning myself in, shouldn’t I take it?
Father Leone: What does your gut tell you?
Clark Kent: Zod can’t be trusted. The problem is, I’m not sure the people of Earth can be either.
Father Leone: Sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith first. The trust part comes later.
Sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith.
In the Bible there is a man called Moses. Moses was born a Jew but raised by Pharaoh’s daughter in Egypt. Moses becomes exiled from Egypt and is living in a land called Midian. One day while out for a walk, he sees a burning bush. God calls out to Moses from the bush. He tells Moses to go back to Egypt, speak to the Pharaoh and free the Jewish people from slavery.
Moses wants no part of this and makes every excuse he can think of to avoid it.
“What if they don’t believe me?” God gives him a magic staff and cloak. “I’m slow of speech and tongue.” God says, “I will help you speak.”
Moses is still afraid and pleads for God to send someone else. God finally agrees to let his brother Aaron speak for him.
In the movie Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker has returned to Yoda to complete his training.
Yoda: No more training do you require. Already know you, that which you need.
Luke: Then I am a Jedi.
Yoda: No. Not yet. One thing remains. Vader. You must confront Vader. Then, only then, a Jedi will you be. And confront him you will.
In the book of Mark, Jesus meets a man that has since become known as The Rich Young Ruler. The man falls down before Jesus and asks what must he do to inherit eternal life? Jesus lists the commandments of God and the man declares “Teacher, all of these I have kept from my youth.” So Jesus says, “You lack one thing: go and sell all your possessions and give them to the poor. Then come and follow me.” But the man was disheartened and went away sorrowful.
Now some would say this is about money. Really though, hadn’t his whole life had been about being in control? He wanted to know what he could do to earn eternal life. In his mind, who he was was defined by what he was.
In the movie City Slickers, Mitch (played by Billy Crystal) has gone with two of his friends to spend a week on a Dude Ranch. He hopes that by going there he’ll be refreshed, find what he deems to be missing from his life, and return a better man. Of course, nothing really goes like he’d planned. One day while out on a cattle drive, Mitch seeks the advice of a grizzled veteran cowboy named Curly (played by Jack Palance).
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
Curly: This. [holds up one finger]
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.
Mitch: But what is the “one thing?”
Curly: That’s what you have to find out.
What is the one thing in your life?
In the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Butch and Sundance find themselves pursued by a posse of talented and persistent bounty hunters. They try every trick to elude them until they finally find themselves trapped on a cliff overlooking a deep ravine. At the bottom of the ravine is a raging river. There is nowhere else to run. They are impossibly outnumbered. A gunfight would be sure death. But Butch has a plan.
Butch Cassidy: Alright. I’ll jump first.
Sundance Kid: No.
Butch Cassidy: Then you jump first.
Sundance Kid: No, I said.
Butch Cassidy: What’s the matter with you?
Sundance Kid: I can’t swim.
Butch Cassidy: Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.
Sundance Kid: Oh, shit…
Where do you find yourself? What are you afraid of? Failure? The loss of control? Rejection? Fear is a powerful emotion. It’s paralyzing. It’s blinding. You feel trapped.
Fear not, says the Lord, for I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
May you see that the Lord is at work in your life. May you see that He has already given you all that you need. May you find somebody to speak the words of God when you are unable. May you find the courage to lose control. May that which has defined you not no longer confine you. May you trust that God has something greater in mind. And until you are ready to trust, may you take a leap of faith.