I have always been an early riser. My parents can confirm this as they love telling the story of them coming into the living room and I am up watching golf at 6am when I am just a few years old. In college, I would sleep in a little bit but not that much consistently. Now that my son is trying to be like daddy, I rarely sleep past 5:30 in the morning. Stephanie is the complete opposite of me and loves to sleep so when I do get up early in the morning, I tend to have some peaceful moments in the day before Cameron wakes up and brings even more joy to my day.
This morning, I woke up around 5am and came out to the living room. I flip through some infomercials and sports highlights before I find one of my top five favorite movies of all-time. It is a movie of love lost deep sin committed and a chance of repentance. The movie is entitled The Mission starring Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson. I saw this movie years ago and it was a movie my parents had watched and recommended. Robert De Niro plays a Spanish slave trader who finds out his wife does not love him anymore. He ends up killing her lover and is held in a jail. Meanwhile, a Jesuit priest, played by Jeremy Irons, takes him in and brings him to the a remote area which they are serving in the mountains.
I will not give away what happens at the end of the movie, as I do encourage all reading to watch it or if you have seen it, watch it again. The part of the movie that really hits me is the scene when they arrive in the mountains and meet up with the tribe they are assisting. Robert De Niro’s character, Rodrigo, is carrying a massive net filled with junk as his penalty for the murder of his wife’s lover. He struggles throughout the trip going through the jungle and is in a state of complete exhaustion. As he finally gets to the tribe, a member of the tribe runs at him with a knife. He is thinking his life is over as his stares at the knife to his throat. The tribal member then cuts the huge net and shoves it off a cliff and it lands in the water, which carries the netting away never to be scene again. Rodrigo then begins to sob as people come up and hug him. He realizes his burden is no more.
How many times have we been at a state of complete exhaustion? If I am guessing, we have all hit that proverbial brick wall. We want to just rest and sit down. We need a good nights’ sleep. We need to kick back after a busy week at work and watch a good movie and forget that we are having marital problems or that a financial burden is growing larger and larger.
However, we are taught to press on with our eyes focused on Him. In the book of Philippians, Paul says, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). This is coming from someone who HATED Christians so having to forget that lifestyle and straining towards Christ must have been an incredible challenge for Paul. But he pressed on towards Heaven!
Next time you or I hit that brick wall, what will we do? Sit down and rest and relax? Or, will we press on knowing that we can do ANYTHING and get through ANYTHING if our eyes and hearts are focused on God?