I apologize if this posts twice, as I think I accidentally deleted it a minute ago.
Last night, I took this sweet little angel to the movie “God’s Not Dead” I didn’t take her on purpose. In fact, I lied and told her that I was going to a meeting as to dissuade her from coming with me. I thought that since there were no singing, dancing ice princesses and talking snowmen that she would be bored senseless. As I often am with her, I could not have been more wrong.
When we arrived and I asked for 2 tickets to “God’s not dead” she looked at me like I just said the most bizarre thing in the world. I just laughed and said “Weird name for a movie, right?” She agreed, but also because she had moved on to more important issues such as the choice between Junior Mints and Twizzlers.
I cannot tell this story without spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie, stop here. At the beginning of the movie, Professor Radisson rants about how “God is Dead” and requires all of the students to write that on a sheet of paper and sign their name to it. One of the students, Josh Wheaton, refused to sign it. During the rant, Kaydence, who was obviously and genuinely upset, said in her loudest whisper possible “Mom! That man is lying! HE IS A LIAR!!!” I quietly explained that the pretense of the movie is that Josh is going to prove him wrong, that it’s actually ok. That, and the junior mints, seemed to satisfy her.
A little while later, she leans over and said “Mom, Jesus died, but then he came back to life, so God’s not dead.”
“Yes, honey, you are right.”
“So, God’s alive in all of us?”
“Absolutely.” Again, she was pacified with my response.
She had a few random comments like this throughout the movie, but during a very argumentative scene, she looks at me and says “So, is he trying to destroy the world?” (This was in reference to the professor in saying that he hated God.) I got to thinking about where in the world she would have come up with that question. Most children’s movies involve some villain who is trying to destroy the world, and there is an underdog who takes on the villain to save everyone. Pretty much, that’s how this movie worked. The professor claimed to be “God” of his classroom, and was a powerful, intellectual force to be reckoned with. A first semester freshman (the underdog) was armed with the Bible and quotes from atheist philosophers and scientists. She totally pegged this movie.
At the conclusion of the film, Professor Radisson and Josh Wheaton had a huge argument in class, where Josh got the professor to admit that he “Hated God”, and by default, admitted that in order to hate something, you are admitting it’s existence. This bothered her a great deal. She leaned over and said “Does God still love him?”
“Yes, even when people make bad choices, God still loves them.”
“So, Mom, I know that God loves us when we are mean to him, so I’ll still love Him when He’s mean to me.” This was at a pretty important part of the movie so I didn’t take the time to address that even though sometimes God tells you “no” like Josh says in the movie, it doesn’t mean that he is being mean. That seemed like a pretty complicated concept.
By admitting that God exists, professor Radisson then began to reflect on his Mother’s death and see that maybe he doesn’t hate God. On his way to discuss this with his girlfriend, he is hit by a car, but lives long enough to declare that he has accepted Jesus Christ before he dies.
Kaydence leaned over and said “So, do you think he still got to go to heaven?”
“Kaydence, when he said he loved Jesus, that means that Jesus accepted him and forgave him for his sins. No matter what we do, God loves us that much.”
“God’s not dead, Mom.”
Right. God is NOT dead. From the mouths of babes comes beauty and innocence. She couldn’t imagine that someone could say that God was Dead. That was unthinkable cruelty, so clearly, he was trying to destroy the world. She looked at me with those big, sweet, innocent eyes and showed me that I greatly underestimated her understanding, and also her faith. I always feel terrible when I underestimate a child, either my own children, or students in my classroom, but that feeling is then quickly over – ridden with feelings of pride. She is beautiful inside and out, and God blessed me with 3 kids like this.
God is NOT dead. He is alive in all of us.