By Chu Kemu
Letters to God is an emotional family movie directed by David Nixon and Patrick Doughtie, starring Tanner Maguire, Jeffrey Johnson and Robyn Lively. In the week of its release it was among the top ten of the whole of America’s box office sales. It is the story of a little boy, who had relied on God, believed in Him, and passed His love on to others under the circumstance of being seriously ill.
There were lots of letters written by little Tyler to God on the table in the postmaster’s office. The postmen didn’t know where to deliver them, so they brought the letters to the postmaster. The postmaster opened the letters and read; every so often he smiled or contemplated with a frown while reading. He was attracted and moved deeply, because he felt Tyler’s honesty and pureness from his prayers in the letters. From the letters they all came to know little Tyler was ill and diagnosed with cancer, but he didn’t blame or complain to others and could keep on writing to God (we can take it as praying to God). He could also understand his family and even continuously pray for them and his friends. It really moved us that he could do these things at an early age.
Then the scene changes to Tyler’s house. His mother was about to go out while his grandmother was looking after him and his older brother. Though his illness had exhausted all the savings of the family, we can see that they loved each other. When Tyler was a little better, he was going to go back to school. Standing in front of the mirror, he looked at his bald head due to chemotherapy. He worried that his classmates would laugh at him, but he said to his mom, “I know. I’ll do what Jesus would do.”
After coming back from school, Tyler unavoidably felt upset because of his classmates making fun of him. But his neighbor, an elderly man, consoled him that he should always believe that he was chosen by God, feel honored for this reason and guide the people around him to turn to God; he shouldn’t make a fuss or care about the tease, much less should he have hatred toward others, because God has love, tolerance and forgiveness…. For ten-year-old Tyler, the elderly man’s words were a little profound, but he understood them. He then forgave his classmate, Alex, who had laughed at him, and took the initiative to write a letter to tell Alex that he wouldn’t be angry with him. Finally, they became good friends and could pray hand in hand together. After that, little Tyler wrote one letter after another praying for each of the people around him whom he knew and wrote to encourage them to turn to God. Moved by his strong, they turned to God one after another and also wrote to God. The letters they wrote were so many that the postbox nearly couldn’t hold them.
There were also some scenes in the film which are fresh in my memory. For example, facing the death of her husband and Tyler’s illness, Tyler’s mom really couldn’t bear it. Lying in her mother’s arms, she cried broken-heartedly. When her mother told her that she should trust God and rely on Him, she started to complain. Yet when Tyler saw his mother’s hopeless expression on her face, and when he heard his brother say he hated his being ill, Tyler told them that they should write to God and tell Him all the things they encountered, no matter when they felt happy or miserable, and that He would listen to them.
When I finished watching the movie, I was deeply impressed and moved by little Tyler’s honesty and pure faith to God and his letters praying for others. Among hundreds of millions of Christians, how many of us can have genuine faith and obedience to God, and will not betray God when facing such great tribulations and refinement as little Tyler did? Little Tyler had never complained to God about his suffering, but prayed to God through writing letters; he had never protested against God or set out all sorts of demands before Him. On the contrary, he believed all of this was God’s best arrangements. He only hoped that he could carry out his mission for the rest of his life—to bring more people before God.
I think of these words from “What Do You Know of Faith?”: “What I seek is your loyalty and obedience now, your love and testimony now. Even if you do not know at this moment what testimony is or what love is, you should bring to Me your all, and turn over to Me the only treasures you have: your loyalty and obedience. You should know, the testament to My defeat of Satan lies within the loyalty and obedience of man, as does the testament to My complete conquest of man. The duty of your faith in Me is to bear witness for Me, to be loyal to Me and none other, and to be obedient to the end. … My work is not so simple as you think, nor is it as worthless or meaningless as you may believe. Therefore, I tell you as before: You ought to give your life to My work, and moreover, you ought to devote yourself to My glory. Further, your bearing Me witness is that which I have long awaited, and even more so have I yearned for you to spread My. You ought to understand what is in My heart.”
The passage tells us that as created beings, we should worship, obey, and satisfy God unconditionally, because He created us and bestowed breath into us. No matter what illnesses or tribulations we encounter, we should seek, learn lessons during the trials, learn to submit to God, and believe God is righteous and that there must be God’s goodwill in all things. This is the object of our pursuit that we believers should have and it is right and proper for us pursue this. Only by pursuing in this way can we be true believers in God and live out a life of meaning.
In real life, many of us believers have worked, run around, devoted ourselves, spread the gospel and suffered a lot for God. But why are we negative and weak, and even misunderstand and complain to God, and show passive resistance to Him when encountering illnesses, adversities, or the things that do not conform to our conceptions? I think of a passage of words: “My deeds are greater in number than the grains of sand on the beaches, and My wisdom greater than that of all those sons of Solomon, yet men merely think of Me as a physician of little account and an unknown teacher of man! How many believe in Me only so I would heal them? How many believe in Me only so I would use My powers to drive unclean spirits out of their bodies? And how many believe in Me simply to receive peace and joy from Me? How many believe in Me only to demand from Me more material wealth, and how many believe in Me just to spend this life in safety and to be safe and sound in the world to come? How many believe in Me only to avoid the suffering of hell and to receive the blessings of heaven? How many believe in Me only for temporary comfort but do not seek to gain anything in the world to come? When I brought down My fury upon man and seized all the joy and peace he originally possessed, man became doubtful. When I gave unto man the suffering of hell and reclaimed the blessings of heaven, man’s shame turned into anger. When man asked Me to heal him, yet I acknowledged him not and felt abhorrence for him, man went far away from Me and sought the way of witch doctors and sorcery. When I took away all that man had demanded from Me, they all disappeared without a trace. … Man only has such manner of faith in Me, and fools Me in this way. How can man bear Me witness when he holds such views of Me?”
Thealso said: “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23). What God requires is people’s sincerity and obedience. That we run around and work for God a lot doesn’t mean true obedience to God or represent that we are doing God’s will, much less is it the bargaining chips for exchanging a good destination.
I think of how Abraham offered up Isaac, and how Job abided by the way of fearing God and shunning evil and didn’t complain to God when he experienced the harm of Satan and lost his all. We can see that the reason they were so reasonable was that they had true belief in and obedience to God and never conducted a transaction with God. Therefore, no matter whether they were blessed or suffered misfortune, they obeyed God and still followed and worshiped Him as before. What they lived out is true testimony and they are worthy of emulation.
The film gives us encouragement, telling us that, in our faith in God, we should seek to worship and obey God and can’t conduct transactions with God; it also helps us know the importance of praying and relying on God. It is a truly moving story and worth watching.
The images above originated from YouTube
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