Some say God doesn’t speak in human ways. Some suggest his creation says it all. Author Karen Kingsbury often writes in her books that God does speak verbally, whispering words into His children’s ears. He speaks through our friends and loved ones. He teaches through His word, the bible, but how else does he communicate with us?
This week, God spoke to me through a movie. That’s right, an animated movie. To be fair, it was a biblically founded movie, not Frozen, or Cars, or something like that. The movie? Prince of Egypt. The year? 1998. The purpose? To tell the story of the book of Exodus and how Moses lead the children of Israel out of Egypt (and to remind a hard heart of the power of the Lord). This movie brought me to tears, but not only in the expected ways.
You see, I’ve been in a rough time of waiting. Maybe you are in a similar position. In this time of waiting, God has spoken to me in a few ways. First, His word showed me that I can trust Him and lean on Him when I’m weak. Second, He has spoken to me through the people in my life who share with me bible verses of encouragement. Third, he spoke to me through a musically brilliant children’s movie which my fiance
forced asked me to watch with him (he had been asking for quite a while, so this timing was a God thing).
I didn’t have high hopes about the movie, other than to hear the artistic rendering of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey singing as Israelite women from over 3,000 years ago. But, I buckled down in an attempt to enjoy a non-Disney animated movie (notably not my favorite).
Instead of a boring movie watching experience, I found myself in awe of the not-so-subtle aspects of the movie which spoke to each of my individual worries at the time. I was doubting God. I didn’t feel His presence. I didn’t know what my next step should be in an unsettling situation I was in. I struggled to see my place in the world and how I could do something meaningful for God’s kingdom. Somehow, this story managed to hit on each problem. I know these aren’t issues that only relate to me, so read on as I explain how God spoke to me through The Prince of Egypt.
When you doubt.
The book of Exodus and its portrayal in The Prince of Egypt shows God in all his mighty power. He makes Himself known to Moses by showing him an eternally burning bush. He shows His power to the Pharoah through the turning of a staff into a snake. He reveals his might to all the Israelites by sending a pillar of cloud and fire to lead them, and then by literally creating an opening in the Red Sea for them to escape from the quickly approaching Egyptian army. If you’re like me, you’ve seen and heard of the many miracles of God. You’ve read His word. You’ve seen His influence in your own life, but still, you doubt. This movie reminded me of His power in a huge way.
When you don’t feel His presence.
I had a major meltdown on the day I watched this movie. Hours before I was laying down, exhausted, to see what I thought would be, at the most, a good musical, I had gotten to the core of my problems: “I don’t feel like He is listening”. I heard it come out of my mouth before I had even processed what I said. But that statement, blubbered out amidst the tears, was exactly why I had been feeling so lost and alone. I needed my Jesus, but I didn’t feel like he was close to me, despite my drawing near to Him. I realized while watching this movie that He was speaking to me, just not how I had expected Him to. The fact that I was watching this movie on this day, was a sign that I had some listening to do.
When you don’t see how He is guiding you.
The Prince of Egypt began with a mother tearfully sending her newborn son down a river in a hope of him being saved from the wrath of the Pharoah. Maybe you recently took a leap of faith like Moses’ mother did (albeit, likely in a less dangerous situation). Maybe you stepped out in a large way and have yet to see why God asked you to do so. It isn’t always easy to blindly trust, and thankfully our first world culture doesn’t often require us to put our child’s life on the line like this, but we are called to put our trust in the God of miracles, who can calm the sea or cause it to open for an entire people group. We can take refuge in Him even when we feel like the waiting game just might kill us (maybe that’s just me being dramatic).
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8
When you don’t feel good enough.
Moses’ life was a lot like a rollercoaster. He was born a slave, then grew up the son of the Pharoah who sought to kill Hebrew children like him, then ran away from the riches to where he would first encounter God. Moses was given an enormous task: to lead the Hebrews out of slavery, which would require convincing the Pharoah to let them leave. Moses didn’t understand why this was asked of him. He actually said to the God who is capable of all miracles that he was not eloquent enough to accomplish what had been asked of him. It is almost funny now, picturing Moses standing on holy ground in front of a burning bush, speaking to God, basically saying “I get how powerful you are, but I’m really just not that good at speaking in front of people” (like that couldn’t be fixed instantaneously). How quick are we to act the same way when given a difficult order from God?
When you don’t understand your place in the world.
Though all of the music in this movie was wonderful, one song stood out to ease a fear that I suspect many millennials deal with currently. The voice sings “A single thread in a tapestry, though its color brightly shines, can never see its purpose in the pattern of the grand design.” Can’t we all relate to that in some way? I struggle to understand where and how I’m meant to serve, both in my career and in the people I surround myself with. The song then reminds us to “look at your life through heaven’s eyes.” In a difficult situation, ask “how would God use me here?” Or in a new friendship, “what is He going to teach me or how can I best show grace and love?”
When you are suffering.
God is a God of deliverance and he is aware of your suffering. When you are suffering, remember that He delivered his people from slavery in Egypt. He remembered the covenant He had made with the Hebrews, and likewise, the bible is full of promises he has made to us.
Then the Lord said “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmakers. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them…” Exodus 3:7-8
We may not always hear a voice out loud from the Lord, but maybe sometimes he can use a movie portrayal of a book to open our eyes to the truth. And if you’re anything like me after watching, it’ll make you on fire to go read the full account in the bible.
Pray with me: Dear Lord, I thank you that you are a creative God who speaks to us in many ways. I thank you for who You are and for what you have done. Thank you for seeing me where I am and loving me still. Let me never forget Your power shown in both old testament works and in our daily lives now. I pray that you would provide me with guidance and peace in my current situation. I thank you for the way you used Moses to free your people and to teach us 3,000 years later from his example. In your name, I pray. Amen.