I process emotion (and my faith) powerfully through TV, movies, and perhaps most of all, their scores. And I have felt frustrated and even somewhat afraid for the past few weeks because, despite the fact that I have desperately wanted to write a new blog for you this year, I have had no idea how to even come close to expressing all that I want to. I don't often get nervous over "blank page syndrome," but lately I have felt haunted by it.
For a long time, I used to stay away from watching too many movies, because of their emotional impact. Many stories have a way of reminding me of the ache and the holes we have in our hearts that can only be filled by Jesus. And even when you know the Lord and have accepted Him as your savior, you can still feel that hole, that ache, sometimes even that pain. I certainly do, only now it's more of an echo. You could say that I feel the scar tissue of that hole being filled. Christians often say we live in this odd circumstance of the "already, but not yet". What that means is that we have been saved by Jesus and adopted into the family of God, but we don't yet have the completion and the fullness of the kingdom of God as it was meant to be, not until His ultimate return.
Lately, I have been experiencing this scar tissue "already but not yet" feeling through the soundtracks of The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) and a new show my roommate and I have been watching called A Discovery of Witches (DOW). Let me try to explain...
There are many melodies in LOTR that stir an awe in me (reminding me of the awe I have for God), and they land deep in my heart and don't let go. They create a longing for grandness, for loyalty and camaraderie, and for faithfulness and hope. These are good things, and I believe they point us to the grandness, loyalty, and hope we can find in the Lord. But sometimes hearing the Rohan theme especially brings my soul to ache in sadness and pain for those who don't know the Lord. Because I know that if I can know the Lord and still feel the echoes of emptiness and despair from before I became a believer, how hard it must be for those who still don't know Jesus. Those who either feel the echo and hole in their heart and don't know how to fill it, or for those who simply ignore the discomfort and pain. There is something about the solo string in the theme that is so stirring and that awakens the remembrance that this is not our final home, and that though our days may seem bogged down with work and toil and sometimes frustrating details, we must not forget the epic battle we are locked in for God, though the war has already been won by Jesus.
In a similar vein, this piece below from A Discovery of Witches feels like it has been living in my very heartbeat all week. I'm not really here to discuss the subject of witchcraft in the show right now, but I do want to talk about this feeling of protection. You can hear in the background of this piece (around the 2:50 mark) the constant beating, beating, beating. Somehow that has worked its way into my ear, and to me it has become a reminder of constantly being on guard. Not necessarily me constantly being on guard, but someone else watching and guarding as a protector, for me. In the show DOW, Matthew is drawn to Diana's bravery and courage, but he also takes upon himself the role of her protector. One of his constant themes, especially in season one, in their relationship is him making sure she is safe with him. For me, this music and the theme of protection in the show brought me back to God, and consequently to googling, as you do, "protector verses" again this week. Psalm 18 came up, and it broke my heart to read.
How God loves us! This describes a God who is truly jealous, protective, and vigilant over us, to the point He will come with smoke and fire and lightning to send our enemies running. I think we all desire to feel safe, loved, cherished, and protected with either someone or something. But too often (and I am also guilty of this) we attempt to protect ourselves, close ourselves off, or try to control things around us in order to achieve this feeling of security, but the truth is, we can't ever fully protect ourselves. Not the way that God can. And even though a life with God may not always be "safe" by the world's standards, it will always, in the end, be good. Because God is goodness and love. He is our protector and our shield. I got chills when I reread Psalm 18 this week, and all of that just hit home for me. And I think the butterflies I got from these verses, combined with the music from the show, have been an incredible reminder of God's presence but also a reminder of that same "echo" or "scar tissue" of our status in the "already but not yet".
I don't know if you feel similarly or if any of this even makes sense to you. If so, you are not alone. All I know is this is often how God shows himself to me—through heroic stories and epic scores—I believe as a reminder of His love and His grandeur. My call to you is this: If you are a believer but still feel those echoes, pray. Praise in thankfulness that you have Jesus, but also pray for those who have no idea what those holes and echoes in their hearts meant yet. And if you find it all too easy to get bogged down in the mundane details of the day-to-day, pick your head up. Go for a walk or a run or a hike. Put on an epic soundtrack, and let your heart take flight and celebrate the reverential beauty of our Lord, our protector.