Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The End, Has Come

Only days are left until my favorite show comes to an end. With that being said, I have to wonder... Are you LOST? LOST the television series, has been on the air for six long seasons filled with confusion, questions and very few answers. With only days left before the big finale, LOST viewers are more lost than ever. If you are not familiar with this amazing show, the story follows several survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, that crashes on a mysterious island. With hints of science fiction, spirituality and some bizarre geological occurrences, LOST has enticed its viewers with a plot line that always leaves you hanging.

An interesting aspect of LOST is the name selection for most of the characters on the show. From philosophers to scientists, authors to theologians, LOST provides an interesting parallel with their characters. Jack & Christian Shepherd are paralleled with, well Christian Shepherd. In the latest season of LOST, Jack is also associated with the number 23 and with his name selection its hard not to assume “The Lord is my shepherd….”.  LOST character Desmond Hume is associated with philosopher David Hume, Charlotte Staples Lewis with author C.S. Lewis and the list continues. LOST viewers still want to know the connections other than the obvious storylines paralleled in these characters, but hopefully resolve will come soon!

Probably my favorite aspect of this show is this ultimate push and pull between the good and evil qualities of every character. LOST writers and producers have truly mastered the art of capturing the humanity of the world in these characters. With themes of power, greed, love, betrayal, peace, faith and science, we as the viewers cannot help but reflect what we ourselves could be capable of doing.  I have been an avid fan since the first season when weird polar bears and a crazy smoke monster were among my only questions and as I have watched, I cannot help but feel bittersweet about the end of such a life changing show.

One of my favorite parts of this show, is how so many of the aspects of my spiritual walk with God are played out before my eyes in a way that I would have never imagined. One of the most intriguing characters on LOST is a man named Benjamin Linus. Over the years, LOST viewers have watched this man go from a well hated villain to a common hero. Ben will always be one of my favorite characters, because he depicts a man who just like everyone else, gets caught up in something far bigger than himself and loses sight of what’s really important. Ben truly was LOST. In recent episodes we have seen Ben transform into the leader that “the island” may have intended him to be, a humble and broken leader. But this came at a high cost and a huge lesson. In the following clip, you will see Ben at his most broken of moments and even more you will see one the most moving depictions of the power of Grace and Mercy ever displayed on national television.

I can sincerely say that this clip alone is the number one reason why I love LOST. This clip is one of the most honest and insightful views of human nature and the amazing power that Grace has when given freely, opening the door to the road of redemption.

For those of you have never seen the show, I would not recommend starting at the end, but rather head to a local movie rental store, pick up the first season and spend sometime watching the show that has transformed a generation of television. Watching the show for the first time during the series finale will definitely leave you confused and clueless. So don’t expect to understand what’s happening! Start from the beginning and enjoy it! For those who do watch already, I look forward to getting LOST with you this Sunday night, May 23rd. If anything, LOST tought us a few things about ourselves and hopefully, we can apply some of the many lessons these characters learn about Love, Hope, Faith and Grace to our own lives!

Embracing Your Fear

In my quest to live the life that God created me to live, the chain that holds me back the most I have discovered, is the chain of fear. I have a fear of rejection, a fear of failure and a fear looking stupid. These fears keep me from pursuing the life God has called me to live as I opt for the life I can arrange because it feels safer.

If we are truly going to live life, then we have to trust God and face the fears that haunt our lives. I believe that true life is found on the other side of our fears. Jesus said this about life; The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness (John 10:10; NLT).  Jesus promises His followers a full life, but before He makes that promise, He reminds us that Satan’s plan is to take away our life. So I ask you; What better way to take away our life than to cause us to fear the very path which will bring us to life?

Here is the problem we have to deal with in our hearts: How do we face our fears? I wish I had an answer to this, but I don’t have one. This is a question I constantly struggle with myself. I know that God has a life waiting for me on the other side of my fears, I know that God provides what I need to get me through my fears, but I feel paralyzed in my fear. I want so desperately to live a life of courage and to be bold, but I keep hiding in the shadows.

With that being said, let me offer a couple of suggestions in connection with facing the fears that plague our lives. First, we need to have companions. Solomon wrote: Two people can accomplish more than twice as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; NLT).  Part of fear, at least in my experience, is the feeling of loneliness. In a fellowship we are able to encourage each other and to walk side by side into the uncertainty of fear. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego were able to stand tall when everyone else bowed because they had each other. Peter and John were able to stand before the Sanhedrin because they were together. It is not enough to have a pep talk before being sent on our way, but we also need companions willing to travel the journey of fear with us.

The second idea is that we need to take it one step at a time. In the movie version of The Return of the King there is a scene when Frodo and Sam look over the final leg of their journey to Mount Doom and see that there are 10,000 Orcs which stand between them and their destination. Sam says to Frodo; “We have to go in there Mister Frodo, but let’s make it down this hill for starters” (paraphrase). Rather than focusing on the entire task of making it through the army of Orcs Sam decides to take it just one step at a time. In the end the Orcs are called off to battle Aragorn and the army of men which had marched to the Black Gate, so in the end the journey through Mordor turned was not as bad as first thought. I think the same can be said about our fears. If we take it one step at a time we will discover that the situation isn’t as scary as we first thought.

We have to face the fears that darken our hearts and rob us of life. The more we ignore our fears the bigger they grow inside of us. Only as we move to confront them do we discover that these fears diminish in size. It is also through the experience of facing our fears that we learn to trust God. The more we trust God the easier it become to move forward in obedience in the future.

The quest for life goes through the valley of our fears. To discover the full life God has created for us to live, we need to take steps to conquer these fears one step at a time . Only then can we really enjoy living life.