With the young adults group I attend being off for the summer, my Sunday nights have opened up. This Sunday, my family and I decided to scroll through the list of movies on Rogers on Demand, and came across the Christian movie Breakthrough.
I’ll try not to spoil the movie too much. If you don’t want to take the risk, then stop reading here. But, if you watch the preview, you’ll know that it’s based on Joyce Smith’s true story. There’s a family: mom (Joyce), dad (Brian), and 14-year-old basketball-fanatic teenage son John. You also see in the preview that John fell through an icy lake in January 2015 and was under water for 15 minutes before he was fished out and resuscitated. He ends up being in a coma, and his parents are told repeatedly at every turn that their son would not make it.
There are many elements to this story, but something that you’ll quickly notice is how fiercely Joyce fights for her son through every obstacle. She fights for him before the accident when he’s rude to her, telling him she loves him. She fights for him after the accident, praying for healing incessantly, and never leaving his side. After doctors gave up, her prayer revived him. Her husband Brian is emotionally distant and distraught, unsure of how to react, and overwhelmed by the implications. His son’s alive, but at what cost? What will it mean for their future family dynamic? He’s being eaten alive by the sea of doubt that’s surrounding him from those who do not have faith.
As one might guess, Joyce becomes embittered. She has been faithful and resilient through this trying time with minimal support. John is still in a coma, and the outcome still doesn’t look good. The climax of the movie is a fight between Joyce and Brian, where he tells her that she’s scaring people and staff away and needs to be nicer. She responds that John wouldn’t be alive without her—to her credit, it was through her prayer that John revived. Brian is taken aback by her pride and tells her so, and they part.
I have to say, at this point of the movie, I was pretty disappointed in Brian. Up until this moment, he wasn’t even in John’s hospital room (where Joyce constantly was), and provided almost no support for Joyce. I frankly didn’t see what was wrong with Joyce’s behaviour.
And that’s exactly the point.
I didn’t see how Joyce was in the wrong. Brian was in the wrong, too, of course, but he came around later. Joyce, however, was letting everything pile on her shoulders. In many ways, I don’t fault Joyce—she’s a human being who stepped up to the plate when her son needed her. I see her in a lot of women I know, who put all the burdens on their own shoulders because no one else is helping and they feel personally responsible for the outcome, so they try to control it.
Joyce, in her own way, was trying to control the outcome. Would I have done differently? Probably not. But it was when Joyce was able to let go of her pride and hand the outcome to God, that she was able to think clearly and let God work through her again. It was after her surrender that God was able to prompt in her guidance for the next step of her son’s recovery.
When we convince ourselves that we need to be in control, we block any chance of God working through us. This is because in order for God to use us, we must accept that He is in control, not us.
This is natural. A few times, when I’ve received chiropractic treatment for my back, I’ve been asked by the chiropractor to relax, because chiropractic adjustments are more effective when the client’s muscles are relaxed; the muscles won’t resist the adjustment.
Sometimes, I relax my muscles, and other times, I only think I relax my muscles. When I actually relax, my joints are adjusted properly with minimal effort. When I only think I relax, the adjustment becomes more difficult for the chiropractor to perform, and so the problem may not get fully fixed.
This isn’t to say that a chiropractor is God, but the analogy remains the same. We can’t fix ourselves, we can’t fix our lives, and we can’t fix other people; we need a healer. I think most people would agree they need help. But will they accept it?
Will you trust your Healer? That, my readers, is the ultimate question. Will you let Him breakthrough your pride?