Film Friday: Flight

When a malfunction occurs, commercial pilot Whip Whittaker has to use every ounce of his strength and ingenuity to crash-land the plane. In doing so he saves all but six of his crew and passengers. 98 people survive and owe them his life. He is hailed as a hero. But there is a problem. Whip is an alcoholic and drug addict. The night before the flight he was drinking heavily, slept little and spent the time with one of the  Even though the plane crash was caused by aircraft malfunction, the subsequent enquiry begins to look bleak for him.

Whip at first quits drinking and drugs for fear of what the future might hold, but it’s not long before he slips back again. Those defending the airline are worried that he is in the public eye and is becoming indefensible. They go to great lengths to attempt to cover up his problems, but he is his own worst enemy. Whip needs to face up to himself and the truth, but it seems like one step forward, one step back. And it may cost him everything. The rest of the story is one big tale of wrestling – and who knows what the outcome will be.

When Jacob fled from his uncle Laban (in Genesis chapters 31 & 32) he found himself trapped between an uncle he had swindled and a brother he had cheated. He had spent his life on the take from the others (he was even born grabbing at his twin brother’s foot), accumulating as much as he could, now this all seemed useless. Perhaps, like Whip, he was addicted to his damaging lifestyle. So, up against it and fearing for his life, he re-asses and de-clutters, sending everyone and everything on ahead so that he is left alone. Well not quite alone. A figure steps out of the night and offers him a way forward – God has arrived and if Jacob will wrestle with the truth then he might well change for good and find a way forward. Jacob fights all night. The next morning, when he comes limping out of the sunrise he is a changed man. He has met God and lived, he has a new name  to remind him of this life-changing night (Israel – one who wrestles), and he has admitted to himself who he really is – Jacob the grabber. When his brother Esau attempts to hand back the sea of presents he has sent, Jacob replies, ‘God has blessed me – I have everything I need now.’ It had been a struggle, but he was beginning a new life, no longer running at his own hell-bent pace, but walking with his God.

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