The movie Noah, a storm, and a Divine appointment

 

Noah movie
Noah movie

WARNING: This is a long blog post! But worth reading!

There’s a lot of controversy, especially among Christians, over the movie Noah, directed by atheist Darren Aronofsky and written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel.

My own husband Ray posted his Facebook comment on Hercules t.v. series actor Kevin Sorbo’s Facebook remark that he’d seen the Noah movie and hadn’t thought much of it: “What do you expect, people? This comes out of Hollywood!”

Ray was then blasted by other Christians for his comment that he was a blasphemer and should seriously reconsider his ministry vocation (he is a paramedic by vocation, but has been licensed as a minister for 25 years).

Nothing like Christian unity, is there? Then we wonder why agnostics, atheists, and those in world religions don’t want to become a believer in Christ. We are fighting the wrong enemy, people!

I was debating going to this movie. Not because I was afraid of being called a blasphemer, but I don’t like when people mess with God’s word. 

A comment on my wall from my Facebook friend Shannon said she wouldn’t support Hollywood with her money, because money is all Hollywood cares about:

“It is absolutely true that this is Entertainment, not Theology… Yet we vote with our wallet, so just like I refuse to see The Wolf of Wallstreet because of it’s horrible language (the F word every 27 seconds, etc), as I would prefer they didn’t make movies like that, I also refuse to give them my endorsement of Noah through paying to see it. KLove was the first place I heard say NOT to see it, but we do need to redeem the possible good that can come of things, so I agree that it could pave the way to a positive conversation. Again–it IS just entertainment, but our Tickets = our approval, so I only go see or rent movies that I enjoy.”

I haven’t seen The Wolf of Wallstreet and will not because of what Shannon said above about it, despite the fact that I think Leonardo DiCaprio is now an amazing actor. (He’s improved a lot through the years in acting, but apparently doesn’t care about F-bombs littered throughout the entire script.)

But I wanted to see Noah; it’s one of my favorite Bible stories.

Should I go, knowing it departs from the truth of God’s word? What about the warning in Revelation 22:18, where God says anyone who adds to the words of the prophecy of this scroll would suffer these plagues and more?

I don’t want any plagues, thank you! I mean, I didn’t direct or write the movie, but would viewing it make me guilty by association?

Or could seeing the movie be instead a powerful, evangelistic tool to share with someone what really happened with the flood according to the Bible, if the opportunity came up?

Or did I really just want to see it because Russell Crowe is in it? (God knows the intents of the heart!)

Noah movie
Noah movie

Another Facebook friend, Susan, said about the movie Noah on my Facebook wall:

“It’s just a movie for heaven’s sake. I don’t think anyone is going to build, or change, their theology based on a movie. I’m not sure what all the uproar is.

I respectfully disagree that someone’s theology could not change based on a movie. My friends Ron and Rhonda Hedrick are missionaries in Guatamala and see many people there get saved and become Christians as a direct result of showing the Jesus film for evangelistic crusades. (Sorry, Susan! Don’t be mad at me for saying that!)

I prayed about the movie. God didn’t tell me “No” about me going to see it, so I went last night.

Here’s my personal review of it (spoiler!!!) and what happened afterward – a Divine appointment. Because of this Divine appointment, I am convinced I was in the perfect will of God last night:

    • Thumbs down for the movie. Don’t recommend seeing it, but wouldn’t “warn” Christians to stay away from it. I don’t regret seeing it, as I felt there were a few lines that were profound and made me really think about the flood and the events of that time. One movie line was worth the price of the movie ticket, which I’ll share in this blog post later.
    • The movie is way beyond “loosely based” on the Bible. NOT anywhere near Biblically-based. 
    • Special effects are awesome, especially with the birds, insects, and mammals going quickly into the ark, and the flood scene. I personally believe the “two of each kind” that God told Noah to take on the ark were babies or young creatures, so there’d be more room on the ark and they wouldn’t eat as much, but the director probably did it this way with the big adult creatures for dramatic effect. I felt the powerful part with the flood waters after the ark door was closed was anointed by God. I felt it displayed His majesty and omnipotence. GOD IS GOD, and He reigns!
    • The “watchers” (rock monsters) are just plain dumb. They represent fallen angels, who God sent to earth to help Adam and Eve after God cast them out of the Garden of Eden. Maybe the director created them to be dumb-looking on purpose just to make people laugh. They looked like something out of a child’s movie, intended to be scary to toddlers. Ridiculous. Not to mention the Bible doesn’t say the fallen angels helped Noah; God wouldn’t have allowed that anyway, since they were fallen and He was trying to preserve and save the human race for the future Messiah’s birth and to be His own holy people.  I do believe God had angels watching over Noah and his family as they built the ark and preached about the coming flood, as I’m sure the spiritual warfare surrounding them was very intense. Satan did NOT want the human race preserved, or the Messiah being born!
    • Russell Crowe’s passion portrayed by his character Noah is off the charts. And as always, Russell Crowe is hot. Sorry, Ray! (I’ll really pay later for this comment, I promise.) Ray, the chics going to this movie are going to want to know this detail about Russell Crowe and will agree vehemently with me. Mid-movie, he becomes psychotic, but he’s still hot. Even when he becomes old and silver-haired, he’s hot. But do you know when he’s THE hottest? When he’s holding his wife in tender scenes, when he’s grabbing her hand in the dirt after the flood, when he’s looking into her eyes with incredible love after they’ve been through the very worst together. I want you looking at me like that, Ray!  : Noah holding his wife (Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly)
    • Noah’s son Ham wants to kill his father for causing his girlfriend/future wife to die in the flood. This didn’t happen in the Bible. He’s mad at his father for forcing him to abandon a girl that Ham found in a hole filled with corpses, who he wants to take on the ark to be his bride. Again, this is mentioned nowhere in the Bible. Ham starts pouting and glaring at Noah really bad. Ham decides to kill his father for ruining his chance for true love, with the help of the extra passenger on the ark, who is an evil man. This didn’t happen in the Bible either. Only Noah and his family were saved. 
    • Ray would like all the killing scenes and the raw meat-eating men…and Noah being a bad butt-kicker. I didn’t like these parts, even though I enjoy a thick, juicy, grilled steak as much as the next person and if evil men are trying to thwart the plan of God, well, then some butt-kicking is in order. On the ark, the evil man (secret stowaway) bit the head off a lizard as he was plotting Noah’s murder and offered it to Ham, reminding Ham how Noah leaving Ham’s girlfriend behind killed her. Crunching the lizard louder than potato chips and having the worst table manners. This was so gross. Worst than all the people screaming loudly and helplessly outside the ark. You feel sorry for the people outside, and it was a sober moment in the movie, which I believe the director captured well…the reality that our sins have deadly consequences and that GOD IS HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS. Yes, God can use an atheist director for HIS purposes! Those screams will be the same as of those burning in hell forever…do you know Jesus?!
    • In the movie, Noah said that God was using the flood to save the animals who were innocent and to get rid of the human race for destroying the planet. The flood occurred because of man’s sins, not because of him not taking care of the plants and planet well enough! God never intended to eliminate the human race entirely, and as much as I love animals, people are much more important than animals! This is the environmentalist push of the movie, which most Christians are finding fault with, including myself. 
    • I was OUTRAGED that when Noah found out on the ark that his daughter-in-law Ila (his son’s Shem’s wife) was pregnant, he said if the baby was a girl, he’d kill her. This is where Noah becomes a crazed lunatic for the rest of the movie, the suspense growing thicker and the mood darker as everyone wonders if the baby will be a girl and fearing Noah will really kill her.  To her human credit, Noah’s wife says if he does this, he will lose everyone he loves and she will HATE him. NOAH’S DECISION AND MURDER PLOT OF THE BABY (AND EVEN THE PREGNANCY ITSELF) IS NOT IN THE BIBLE, AND THIS PART REALLY MADE ME MAD! Shem’s and Ila’s baby IS a girl – TWIN GIRLS! At the very last, horrifying moment, with Noah holding a sharp blade over one of the innocent baby girls, he decides NOT to kill the babies because all he can feel is love for them. Soon afterward, everything and everyone is normal and happy, except Ham, who leaves. SIGH. But what this part about Noah plotting to kill innocent babies spoke to me is that evil is not “outside” us; it’s within the human heart. This is WHY we need a Savior, Jesus!
    • One of the funniest parts in the movie (despite the fact that the Bible doesn’t say this happens or that Methuselah was still around then) was when Noah’s old grandfather Methuselah is just trying to find a sweet berry before it starts raining and the world as he knows it is destroyed. He hadn’t tasted a fresh berry in years and as he said to Ila who asks what he is doing, he was just really craving one. He finds one, eats it, and suddenly is swept away and drowned by the flood waters. Methuselah is a memorable Bible character to me because when I was growing up in the south, my mother would often say, “He (or she) is old as Methuselah.” 
    • I loved this line in the movie when Methuselah says to Noah about the Creator: “He speaks to you. You must trust that he speaks in a way that you can understand.” As God’s children and His sheep, we hear His voice. He is our Shepherd and we follow Him.
    • But this was the clincher for me. THE LINE THAT WAS WORTH THE MOVIE PRICE: Ila reminds Noah of his decision in the end to save his twin girl grandchildren out of the love in his heart: Noah decided humans were worth saving…just as God decided we were worth it. 

 The Divine Appointment after the movie

 After I left the movie and was heading home, it began raining. How ironic. 

When I was between the cities of Harrisonville and Archie, MO, the rain began coming down hard sideways and severe lightning flashed every other second nearby. I was afraid the lightning was going to hit my car and I was going to be electrocuted.  The cars’ tires began sliding a little and I slowed down the speed even more.

I began praying aloud and pleading the blood of Jesus. Later I found out that I was right in the middle of a severe storm cell.

The irony of the intensity of the rain and storm didn’t escape me, after I’d just seen the movie Noah. On the radio, my 2014 song played, Oceans (Where Feet May Fail). 

I prayed for God to just get me safely to Archie, where I’d take the exit and take shelter at one of the convenience stores there. 

Two cops in uniforms were standing inside the doorway, looking out the glass door. When I came inside, dripping wet, I asked with a quivering voice, “Is there a tornado?” I was physically shaking from fear. It took me several minutes to calm down.

They looked at me kind of funny, then nodded in understanding when I explained the lightning had struck several times close to my car and I thought I’d be electrocuted. They said it was bad out there.

They said we weren’t in a tornado yet, but that it had been hailing and the severe thunderstorm was moving east (away from where I was heading, thank God!). They laughingly said they were waiting out the storm, so their patrol cars wouldn’t get hail damage. I felt calmer and safer standing near them.

The convenience store clerks were mopping the floors for closing, and told me I could wait inside the store at least another 20 minutes until the storm subsided. To bide my time, I bought a bottle of Coke® and Reeses chocolate peanut butter cups®. I don’t know of any time that this combination can’t help a little! 

Reeses Peanut Butter cups - Wikipedia
Reeses Peanut Butter cups – Wikipedia

The store had booths where you could sit and eat and drink. I slid in the booth to calm my nerves, enjoy my snacks, pray, and to text Ray, Leah and Heather to ask them to pray for me.

Ray texted me back that rotating clouds had been seen in that area, but I didn’t see the text until later…probably a good thing as I’m not into tornadoes! Don’t ever feel as if your prayers don’t matter, because they really do! 

The ride

As I sat there enjoying the snacks, I saw a petite, pale-faced, brunette-colored woman come into the store, also very wet. Her face looked familiar, but I couldn’t place her.

She chatted loudly with the police, and asked them for a ride to the next town about 6 miles away. One of them answered, “Well all right, but only if you promise not to cause trouble again.” I didn’t know what that meant, but she was happy for a ride.

The rain seemed to be subsiding now and I asked one of the officers if he thought it’d be safe now for me to drive home, which was further than the next town. He said yes. Trusting him, I got into my car and as soon as I was on the highway, the rain, coming down hard and sideways again and the lightning, started up again.

I saw that I was also running low on gas and was concerned that I wouldn’t make it home. The last thing I wanted was to run out of gas in this kind of storm.

I sensed God telling me to pull off the exit into the next town.

When I finally got there, I pulled into another convenience store to pump gas and seek shelter again. The lightning was still flashing every other second, so I wanted to wait before I got gas. I didn’t want to leave this earth pumping gas…couldn’t I die with a little more dignity than that?!

The Divine Appointment

When I walked into the store, I saw the same woman in there who had been at the other store. I pointed my finger to her and said “I know you somehow.”

She smiled big and said, “Yes, you’re BETH! And I’m Ree!” (“Ree” is a pseudonym to protect her identity.) She then asked me for a ride. I told her I wanted to talk to her first and was waiting out the storm for safety.

I met her about 2 years ago at a church I’d been visiting for about 6 months. I’d found out after befriending her that she was a young, single mom.

 

drugs-  Photo Credit, David Niblack, Imagebase.net.
drugs- Photo Credit, David Niblack, Imagebase.net.

She was recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and trying to get her life straightened out. Since I was a single mom for many years, my heart had gone out to her.

I’d left that church and now attended my weekly small-group with my pastors Dave and Ruth Christian. They have a small teen group for our daughter Leah as well.

Since I’d left the church over 2 years ago, Ree had fallen back into drug addiction: pot, opiates, and now meth (methamphetamines), an extremely dangerous and addictive drug.

I had to research its effects and it scared me even more for Ree after I found out.

Meth can cause:

  • anxiety
  • psychotic behavior
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations
  • aggression
  • delusions
  • death.

 It releases dopamine in the brain and causes a prolonged sense of euphoria.

When the drug wears off, the user feels profound depression and thinks he/she needs more of the drug to avoid the “crash.” Over time,users need more and more to experience that feeling of euphoria.

Frequent meth use can produce anorexia (she looked anorexic), symptoms like Alzheimer’s (brain damage lingering long after use), drastic changes in appearance (many users looking years older than they are), and an overdose with no immediate sign that can suddenly and quickly lead to death.

Ree admitted she wasn’t doing well, and was a drug addict and an alcoholic.

She said she couldn’t get a scarf out of her hair because of all the knots. I wondered how long it’d been since she brushed it. It was a tangled mess, and she had bald patches.

I wanted to hire a hairdresser immediately to brush, wash, cut, and style her hair. I was tempted to buy a brush and start untangling it myself, but she wouldn’t be still. She had on a pair of sneakers and a sandal. I don’t know if she lost a shoe, or didn’t realize she was wearing 2 different shoes.

 She talked nonstop and moved constantly, hyperactive – what is called “tweaking” on meth.

She looked like she’d aged 10 or 20 years, which is one of the side effects of meth. It steals your life and kills you. This broke my heart.

As I stood there talking with her at the counter, she brought a handful of chocolate Zingers to the counter, a fountain drink, and asked the clerk for a bottle of liquor.

It angered me how satan was destroying her life and I quickly told her she didn’t need it, what she really needed was Jesus. I began sharing with her about the calling of God on her life and the gifts He had put inside of her.

Jesus on cross
Jesus on cross

She listened. Do you know that God’s truth can penetrate the haze of drugs and alcohol?

I knew that Ree had given her life to Christ and rededicated it to Him when she was at that church.  She said she knew God, but He was too hard on her. She said look at all the times she’d been arrested…she’d lost her kids…she was anxious all the time. 

I asked her, “Do you really think this was an accident that I stopped at this store? This is a divine appointment! God sent me here to talk with you!”

She acknowledged that as true. We chatted a few minutes more, and she sat down at a booth like the one I’d sat down in at the other store. I went to pump my gas as the lightning was ceasing.

While I pumped gas, she poured the alcohol into her fountain drink.

I came back inside and knew she was why I was being stopped by a storm. God had sent me there to talk with her about Jesus.

I sat down to just talk with her. She told me her doctor wouldn’t prescribe any more Xanax for her, so she drank to cope with her incredible anxiety each day. She said she felt scared all the time. 

She said she’d never been to rehab before and didn’t want to go. I thought of the song Rehab by Amy Winehouse and how she had died from a drug overdose. I prayed that wouldn’t happen to Ree.

Ree said that the police were always harassing her, thinking she was a criminal. She’d been arrested numerous times. Social Services had taken away her young children; some lived with her mom and others with another relative.

Her husband had left her for an 18 year old, she said, and filed for divorce.

She was homeless, occasionally staying with her mother, and at other times with “friends” – one of her drug houses, I later found out.

She said she heard the demons talking to her a lot. I told her she had authority over demons, in the name of Jesus, and to use her authority.

I told her God loved her and had a plan for her life. As we talked, she ate 3 chocolate Zingers, stuffing them quickly into her mouth. I wondered if chocolate and sugar addiction were a side effect of meth use, or if she was on another drug.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/Chocolate_zingers.jpg
Chocolate zingers
Wikipedia commons

 I watched in fascination as her thick, Angeline Jolie-like, red, chapped lips bit the Zingers in half, and she crammed them into her mouth, continuing to talk non-stop and slurping her fountain coke with the liquor. She said she couldn’t remember the last time she ate a good, home-cooked meal…she didn’t cook for herself. Her mom cooked for her kids. She had good kids. They made high grades. They didn’t do drugs like mom.

I asked her what she wanted to do with her life, what she really wanted. She said she wanted to stop being anxious and afraid and wanted to just be happy. Don’t we all want that?

The police arrive

I looked up and a state trooper in uniform was standing there beside us, apparently listening to our conversation. Where had he come from?

The town’s policeman and the fire department’s chaplain were standing there in the store as well. They’d apparently come quietly into the store (did someone call them?) behind us and had been listening to us. Ree had been “tweaking” too bad to notice, I guess (my back was to the door).

“Ree, you’re going to have to come with me to the station for some questioning,” the trooper said.

Ree began crying, “Awww man, what did I do now? Why don’t you guys just leave me alone? I’m tired. And my legs hurt.” (She didn’t have a car and walked a lot.)

She then stated she had been to the hospital recently and had breast cancer. If she had committed a crime, would cancer keep her out of jail? I didn’t know. Probably not.

She’d mentioned that to me before the police arrived there.  Surely someone would not lie about such a thing, would they? I wondered if she was going to start treatment soon.

He looked torn between doing his duty and showing compassion. “It will be okay. You won’t have to walk anymore. We’ll give you a ride. We just want to ask you some questions.”

He whispered something to me and I swear, I thought he said, “We are going to arrest her.” What?! But then Ree had told me she’d been arrested several times before...Jesus came to set the captives free.

I wondered what about her lawyer. I wondered if I should go with her to the station.

What could I do, though? I didn’t even know what she had done! I felt so helpless, but began praying inwardly.

“We want to talk to you about a case,” the officer said. What case?!  I didn’t want to start asking a bunch of questions….I didn’t want the police to think I was associated with any possible crime, either!

I hadn’t seen her in 2 years since the church…and at that time, she was clean, had her kids, and looked so different. I was grieved.

I wondered if she was arrested that night for something she had done something wrong, if she’d be safer in jail than on the streets getting meth. But I’d heard sometimes prisons can be worst about drugs than the streets.

She hugged me bye then while I had all these thoughts, and willingly went with him to the police car. I stood there, looking out the glass door with the rain dissipating, and occasional lightning lighting up the parking lot.

I talked a few minutes to the fire department chaplain, who told me this was an almost nightly occurrence with her. He said he’d known her for years. He said she was constantly “spaced out.”

I told him I had seen her last about 2 years ago at church and now she looked terrible. He said she looked like death warmed over. That bothered me.

He said she got her drugs from someone in town and often slept with men to get the meth.

I asked if the police were arresting those people, too, and he said they were trying. He said another woman in town, younger than Ree, had overdosed on the drugs and died. I began praying for Ree again and asked him to pray. I wondered if he, and others, had stopped praying for her, writing her off as hopeless.

God never writes us off until our very last breath.

I asked the chaplain to please pray for me to get safely home and he said he would. I got in the car to drive home.

I had no doubt that God had stopped me in the storm, that was now passing, to talk with Ree and minister to her that God loved her and had a good plan for her life, despite everything going on.

Ila had told Noah that he had decided that humans’ lives were worth saving, just as God had decided this. Ree’s life was worth saving, too. 

Today I went by the convenience store to ask what had happened to her. Had she been arrested? Where was she? The woman didn’t know her or anything about her. She wasn’t the same woman who was there last night.

I cried in the car on the way home again, asking God to protect her life and let her fulfill her destiny. To get into rehab and off the meth and other drugs and alcohol.

Apparently God wants me, for right now, to just pray for her. She’s worth saving. She’s worth loving. She’s worth delivering.

People can say what they will about me going to the movie as controversial and unBiblical as it was. Yes, I was meant to see the movie Noah last night. The storm scared me really bad. But I had a divine appointment from God. Ree was worth it. Please keep her in your prayers.

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4 thoughts on “The movie Noah, a storm, and a Divine appointment

  • April 4, 2014 at 7:26 am
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    Thank you, Angie! I pray and ask God to use me. Thank you for that encouragement and for your prayers. Hugs back, friend!

  • April 4, 2014 at 7:26 am
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    Thank you, Stephanie. Yes, God is! Thanks for praying for Ree!

  • April 3, 2014 at 11:48 pm
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    Great words here Beth. God knew you were needed last night. You have a good heart. Hugs sweet friend. Prayers sent as well

  • April 3, 2014 at 10:05 pm
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    This is just wonderful. God is awesome. Divine indeed. Praying for your friend.

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