Following an alien invasion Lee and Evelyn have to do everything they can to protect their family from the deadly alien predators. They have one huge problem, the aliens cannot see or smell, but they have the most acute hearing imaginable. So the family have to live a radically different kind of life, doing everything possible to live quietly. They communicate using sign language and eat, work and play games with the volume right down to merely stay alive…
One of the things that the family does, when they eat together, is to say thank you for the food. Silently. So they clasp hands and pray together without any words. These are moments pregnant with meaning, a precious family, fighting to survive, struggling with anxiety and trouble, still remembering to say thank you for the food they have.
The Bible is full of folks who live with danger and trouble. Whether it is from the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Assyrians or Romans. Pretty much all of the Bible takes place in dangerous environments. In fact, the main reason the Bible changed from being an oral medium, passed on by storytellers, to written format, was because danger threatened and folks feared the accounts of the presence of God would be lost. So we find the bible jampacked with communities of folks who live with all kinds of dangers and anxieties, and in the midst of that, praying, worshipping, trusting, questioning and crying out to their creator God. Jesus himself grew up in a community hemmed in by the brutal Romans, and would of course eventually die on Roman cross. God never more present in the terrors of this life. Jesus submitting to a system of abhorrent injustice and then flipping the whole thing round, crashing that system and offering a new beginning, one that would outlast the might of the Roman empire, indeed the might of any earthly empire.
We don’t live with the threat of alien attacks of course, nor do we face the dangers that many of the Biblical characters faced, though many people do. But we all live with a variety of pressures and emotions, wonder, fear, faith, doubt, laughter, tears, at any one time these things play out in the depths of our being, like radio programmes playing in the background of our lives. To be a christian does not spare us troubles and sorrows, as it did not spare the folks in the Bible, but like them we have a God who understands, a God who has walked these troubled roads. I’m so glad the Bible is honest about the problems of life, we wish it were different, we wish that having faith made everything easy, (I do anyway), but the writers of the Bible encourage us to keep running this race, not so much a glorious sprint, but a taxing marathon, often without the roar of any crowd, just plodding on through life’s realities… with Jesus with us, behind us, ahead of us, our fuel, our goal, our map, our strength. ‘We don’t give up, we run the race God has set before us, looking to Jesus, who himself ran the race of life, and continues with us.’ See Hebrews 12 vv 1-3.