Theme: Being honest with God
Bible refs: Lamentations 3 vv 1-24
Similar clips: The man in the iron mask – Who’s inside there?
Location of clip: 20 mins and 5 secs to 22 mins and 32 secs
Bruce is on a bad day. He’s been sacked from work, he was beaten up as he left the company car park, and now his girlfriend Grace is giving him spiritual platitudes.
She is also trying to get him to pray about his problems, and to that end has got the children she teaches to make him some prayer beads. So Bruce decides to risk it and have a pray. However, beginning to communicate with God creates more trouble than he bargained for. Bruce discovers there’s more to God than just a heavenly provider. God wants a proper relationship, with tough questions, hard dialogue and genuine responsibility.
Bruce is driving in his car when he notices the prayer beads his girlfriend Grace gave to him. So he decides to pray. He takes them off his rear view mirror and starts to ask for a miracle to sort out all his problems. However, before he can finish he drives over a crater in the road and the prayer beads leap out of his hand. While he is fishing about for them under the seat he loses control of the car and drives into a lamppost. Bruce gets out of the car, takes one look at the damage and goes ballistic. He hurls the prayer beads into the river and shouts at the sky.
“Okay pal,” he says, “the gloves are off… Smite me oh Mighty Smiter!”
Bruce is not happy and he’s not going to pretend that everything’s okay.
Bruce does a dangerous thing – he tells God the truth. He lets out all the angry poison from inside and pours out his wrath on his maker. He’s not going to pretend his life is okay. He hates what’s happening, and as far as he’s concerned it’s God’s fault. God is picking on him, God is making his life tough, and he could fix it all in five minutes if he wanted.
What Bruce doesn’t realise is that this kind of thing is exactly what God wants. Real communication. Bruce has come out of hiding at last and is starting to tell God what’s really going on, God can do nothing now but take him seriously. Before long Bruce finds himself in a warehouse talking to the big man himself. His life will never be the same again.
It’s worth noting that when Bruce makes his first attempts at praying he does what most of us do. He sees God as a big Mr Fixit. He asks for a miracle so that he can just carry on with his life the way it was before everything fell apart. But God won’t let him get away with that. He wants to be far more than just a magician. So, once Bruce starts praying honestly, he invites Bruce to come and see him.
It’s a funny thing that, although we know God sees us as we really are, when we approach him we often put on a show. We’re afraid to tell it like it is. We feel we must make vain attempts to be holy or spiritual in his presence. Even though he knows the muddled mess we are. The Bible clearly demonstrates that we can come to God and let it all out. Jeremiah, not the greatest of party animals, let out all his frustration and bitterness when he wrote the third chapter of his diary. He wasn’t afraid to do that, and once the poison was out he could see a little more clearly, he could honestly remind himself that in spite of appearances, God is good, and each day is a gift from him.
1. Ever have any bad days like the one Bruce is having?
2. Do you feel able to talk to God about your anger?
3. How can we make church a place where we are more honest, not just coming out with the same glossy prayers and happy answers? Any suggestions?
4. Have a look at some of the psalms and consider the way they “tell it like it is”.
5. Did the clip make you think about anything else?