Sunday, August 16, 2015

When the Monsters Come...

Have you seen the movie The Village, starring Bryce Dallas Howard?

It's an intense, somewhat creepy film about the power of suggestion, human nature, and the search for innocence. In the movie, a group of people start a colony to avoid crime. And yet, crime comes just the same. These families live in a secluded clearing surrounded by woods, in which they believe are inhabited by fearsome monsters who are attracted to the color red and repelled by yellow. The villagers and the monsters have an unofficial truce - the people don't go into the woods, the monsters don't come into the village.

Meanwhile, the character played by Bryce is named Ivy, a big-hearted young woman who is blind, and is madly in love with Lucias, a simple man of few words but one who is fiercely loyal to Ivy. He's loved her for years, but would never let her know. Yet she draws it out of him as only she can do.

There's a scene where the monster has violated the truce and is attacking the village. The people are frantic, scrambling into basements, dead-bolting doors, screaming. Ivy is waiting in her sister's cottage for Lucias, her entire family in the basement behind her. Her sister raises the trap door from the floor and demands Ivy get inside. But Ivy stubbornly stands in the open doorway of the house, determined to wait for Lucias. "He'll come for me," she proclaims in a shaky voice. "He always comes."

She's blind, and can't see that the monster is drawing nearer and nearer to the open front door where she stands. Yet we know she senses the danger, because she's sweating and trembling and teary-eyed with fear. Yet she stands, regardless - arm outstretched, fingers waiting. Trusting. Believing he will come for her.

The monster draws closer, Ivy trembles harder, and then, in a split second - Lucias. He appears in slow motion, grabs Ivy's outstretched hand, whirls her around into the safety of the house, and slams the door literally just in time.

It might be the most romantic thing I've ever seen.

It's what every female heart longs for - security. True love. Loyalty. Protection. It's every deep well inside a woman's heart bursting to life in one ten-second film clip. It's almost unbearable to watch. And yet you want to cheer, even while you're fighting back tears, because it's just so beautiful and perfect.

Not that long ago, I opened the door to a bad situation that had me in over my head. I wanted out. I wanted safety. I wanted to slam the door, but was too afraid of the repercussions. I was frozen in fear. Fear of "what if". Fear of "it's too late". Fear of "this is inevitable."

I was so burdened, I almost couldn't breathe. I went into the restroom at work, locked the door, and with my forehead pressed against the wall, I asked Jesus one desperate, honest, gut-wrenchingly heartfelt question.

"What do you want me to do?"

The answer, so swift and personal and intense that I got chills from head to toe, came immediately.

"Hold out your hand."

The scene from that movie I had viewed months before played through my mind, except it wasn't Lucias or a romantic interest twirling me to safety. It was Jesus. The danger was about to plow me over, and He was right there, watching. Ready. Waiting for my cue.

Jesus doesn't force Himself. He longs to rescue us, but He doesn't impose. I had to make the decision to hold out my hand for rescue, or be devoured.

Standing in that bathroom stall, sobbing, I literally shot  my hand out. Arm fully outstretched, fingers reaching..

And that was the end of it. That was all it took. It was over from there forward.

Oh, I had to walk through the tangible steps of removing myself from the situation, yes. But that was the easy part. The hard, nearly impossible part, was that crucial moment of decision. That mental, emotional and spiritual shift that had to take place first. That moment where I realized I couldn't save myself, that I lacked the know-how and desire to carry it out. That only Jesus' strength could be made perfect in my weakness.

Holding out my hand that afternoon changed everything.

What will it change for you?