Film Friday: Miracles from Heaven

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Miracles from Heaven is based on the true story of the Beam family, and their middle daughter Anna, who contracts a rare intestinal disease. The family invest much in trying to find the right treatment for her. I found this at times a moving and disturbing watch, with much of the film focussing on Anna’s illness, and the various treatments she undergoes to try and help her get better. Many scenes were charged with tension and emotion and at times the family struggles felt relentless. But as the story unfolds there are many little ‘miracles’. Many moments when others reach out to the family unexpectedly. When Anna and her mum travel to Boston for treatment they are befriended by waitress Angela who gives up a day to show them round the city and spend time with them. When Anna’s father, Kevin, attempts to take Anna’s sisters to Boston to surprise her in hospital, he encounters problems at the airport. All his credit cards are maxed out. When the man on the desk overhears some of their story his computer mysteriously dies and he issues the flight tickets anyway.

This is a great movie for reflecting on the nature of miracles. Those moments that change things. Not so much the big showbiz happenings, but the little things. I recall the uplifting smile of a stranger in the street when I was living in London and finding life hard, also the kind words of encouragement from an unexpected source. Moments which kept me going and, which I remember thirty years later. We often want miracles to be big and brash, sometimes because we want to be able to use them to ‘prove’ that God is real. But Jesus never used miracles in that way. He didn’t need to, everyone in his culture believed in God. Instead his miracle moments were signs, conversation starters, invitations into relationship. Pointers and clues about who he was, and what that meant, life-changing happenings. His moments spent with the despised and rejected (Zacchaeus, Matthew, a Samaritan Woman drawing water, a woman sick with bleeding) were in their own way as miraculous as those times when he fed thousands and walked on water.

Albert Einstein once said, ‘There are two ways to live, you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.’ I have to be honest and say that to live as if everything is a miracle sounds like a lot of hard work to me! But I get the point and I do want to spot those every day miracles, those moments which remind us that there is more to life than this concrete and clay. It also puts me in mind of a quote by Christian activist Shane Claiborne – ‘Get ready because God is preparing you for something very, very……. small. Because it’s small things that change the world.’ We can all be part of those small miracles, those moments which bring the presence of God to others. As God encouraged Bruce towards the end of the film Bruce Almighty – ‘You want to see a miracle, son? Be the miracle.’

If you want to discover more about the themes and issues raised in the film, Damaris Media have free download resource guides including reflections, exclusive videos, suggested group activities and lots more at
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