Where is God when life goes wrong?
The question at the heart of new film Miracles from Heaven
Where is God when life goes wrong? It’s a question that every person of faith will have asked at one time or another, and it’s the question at the heart of new film Miracles from Heaven (in cinemas 10 June), based on the real-life story of the Beam family.
When we first meet Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner), there doesn’t seem to be a cloud on her horizon. She shares a happy home in Texas with her husband Kevin (Martin Henderson) and their three daughters. Though the Beams face all of the usual challenges of marriage and parenthood, there’s nothing to make them question the good and loving God they’re taught about in church every Sunday.
But then their middle daughter Annabelle (Kylie Rogers) starts experiencing unexplained stomach pains, and the Beams’ perfect world comes crumbling down. Tripping through a maze of misdiagnoses and baffled medical professionals, they can only watch their daughter suffer. While Kevin holds the fort at home, Christy becomes Annabelle’s champion, fighting fiercely to get her the best possible treatment.
Kevin and Christy’s differing responses to the crisis are telling. While Kevin takes comfort in the belief that everything will work out somehow, Christy becomes as combative with God as she is with Annabelle’s doctors. Neither reaction, the film implies, is wrong. Kevin’s trust doesn’t mean that he is taking the situation lightly, and Christy’s wrestling doesn’t mean that she has rejected God.
It’s a reflection on the untidy reality of walking through suffering. Even when facing life’s less significant setbacks we may not react the way we think Christians are ‘supposed’ to. Miracles from Heaven invites us to question: when’s the right time to struggle and protest against our circumstances, and when’s the right time to sit back and confess our helplessness? Is either of these a more ‘faithful’ response to suffering - and are we perhaps called to do both?
For a long time Christy feels as though her prayers aren’t being answered, before an extraordinary turn of events dramatically restores her hope. However, as she learns, the truth is that God was present in the journey, not just the outcome. Small, everyday kindnesses and so-called lucky breaks look very different when viewed through eyes of faith. Perhaps what God offers us in suffering is what we really need: not answers, but love.
This article comes from Damaris Media, which creates free film resources for community groups.