Last night I watched Titanic with a bowl of popcorn on my family room couch. It has been several years since I have dusted off our copy of the epic film and nestled in for 3+ hours of entertainment.
100 years ago 1500 people died on that ship while only 700 survived. We sometimes choose not to think about such horrific moments in our recent history because it distances us from the feeling of pain that they experienced. One of the worst parts in the movie for me is from the perspective of those who managed to escape in a life boat. They watched the whole thing play out from a safe distance. The images, the screams... Yes, I can understand why we don't dwell there in our minds long.
Something struck me while watching this time though. There is a playful scene where the main characters, Jack and Rose (if by chance you have lived under a rock and not yet seen the movie), are running through the hallways of the ship trying to evade capture from her fiance's henchman. They are laughing while they close doors behind them to unknown pathways. At one point, they enter the boiler room (is that what it is called?). Instantly there is this juxtaposition of the elegance in the floors above to the noise/sweat/heat/filth/darkness of what is the team of workers that keeps the ship afloat. Her gown flows behind her as she runs, glowing in the light of the steam and coal (or whatever it is) burning and filling the room they are darting through. The men are strong and the room is dark. They are working hard at what they were called to do in THIS moment without much thought (I am assuming) to what was going on above them until these two blissful intruders enter their world.
The movie progresses. The watchmen on the ship see an approaching iceberg (in case you are still somewhere under a rock) and the man in charge takes action to avoid it. He slides a handle on a dial that communicates to the men in that deep, dark, unseen boiler room to STOP the ship. IMMEDIATELY they halt their tedious efforts. They close the dampers. They change course from faithfully keeping the engines burning to shutting them down all together. What struck me was their swift action. They didn't question the command. They didn't call back to the captain to find out if this was a drill or even a mistake. They didn't pause to wonder what must be going on up there. They didn't (audibly) ask, "Why the sudden change of direction?" They just obeyed.
Oh how I want to be like that. I don't want to be consumed by what others are doing (or not doing). I don't want to linger in thought about my circumstances and how some one else seems to be living a more desirable existence. I want to work hard at what is before me. I want to be focused on heaven and serving God in this moment (even when it seems dark where I am). And I want to take swift action, not asking the why but merely obeying the command for what it is. I don't want to question the point of my tiresome efforts until now (if it was just going to be stopped abruptly) but rather understand to my core that obedience is one thing I can only do in the present.
You see, there will be moments/seasons of our lives where it seems like suffering is as common as breathing in our days. When the darkness surrounds us and we have to work hard just to do the next thing. The enemy will tempt us to question what the point of all of it is. To doubt. "Nobody up there" even appreciates what I am doing to "keep this ship afloat" while they wine and dine and live in the light of day without a care in the world. He would like us to give up and walk away leaving an empty space where God has asked us to serve (our husbands, our children, our employer, our neighborhood, our church). Some days just suck. But alas His mercies are new every morning when we abide in Him. And if I can obey him in this hard thing oh how much easier it will be to obey him when he says your time of waiting is over. Stop now. Act now. Speak now. And I won't have to hesitate or question the validity of the command. I will trust because I know that God will lift me up out of the mire and bless my obedience with far more than "fine china and elegant gowns". Eternity with him in heaven. Oh, Jesus please come. And speak loudly so I can hear you over the noise/sweat/heat/filth/darkness as I serve you faithfully in this moment.