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“I’ve known…that we weren’t liable to find him…Maybe I knew even before we left home, but somehow I just had to try! And if we don’t try, we don’t do. And if we don’t do, why are we here on this earth?”
I recently watched the 1965 move, Shenandoah. It’s about a farmer who refuses to take sides in the Civil War and therefore doesn’t see a reason to allow his sons to fight. But when his sixteen year old son is mistaken for a confederate soldier and captured by the Yankees, he and his other sons set out on a daunting mission to find him and bring him home. He says this line after a failed rescue attempt.
For some reason, even though I’ve seen Shenandoah several times, this was the first time I really heard that line. I began thinking of the many times I had not tried to do something because it looked too difficult or even impossible.
When you look at the lives of the saints, you see story after story of everyday folks like you and me, who stepped out in faith and tried, even if it were for a seemingly hopeless cause, because they trusted that God would equip and guide them to do the task He had given them to do. They believed the words God spoke to the Israelites, “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down…I paid a huge price for you…That’s how much you mean to me… So don’t be afraid: I’m with you” (Isaiah 43:1-4, The Message).
The father in Shenandoah tried to do something, even though it seemed doomed to fail, because he loved his son. He was right to wonder why we are here if we’re not doing, because we have been created and put here to “do.” But we do, not just out of love for each other, but out of love for the God who made us and redeemed us and loves us more than we can possibly imagine. In the words of Old Testament scholar Barry G. Webb, “People who are loved like that have absolutely nothing to fear.”
The Rev. Carol BrooksSupport Groups & Crisis Care
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