Thursday, May 29, 2008

Magic Cubes and Prayers

This weekend we had a “Family Movie Night”. We made sure we had plenty of microwave popcorn and then headed out to Blockbuster. Our goal was to find the perfect flick to stimulate the collective Pannell brains for an hour or two. My job, as the titled “adult” of this legislation was to ensure that the flick selected was one that would appeal to everyone in the family. In other words, the newest Ben 10 or Power Rangers may not make it far with the female Pannell demographic, and Barbie Mariposa would probably be a flop amongst the male Pannells. So, I was to delicately navigate the aisles and lovingly reject ideas until we could all agree on the one that I tricked them into thinking they selected! :)

The winner this time: “Mr.Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”. It was a lovely little movie. In fact, I loved it. Me and my wife were enthralled. The kids didn’t quite get the deeper meaning of it all, but it was visually beautiful enough to keep their rapt attention. One scene in the movie REALLY moved me. My friend Matt calls moments like these “echoes of something more”. He is referring to times in media where they may not say it, but God is alive in the background of things. This scene in the movie was one of those times.

The girl in the movie (played by the lovely Natalie Portman) was stuck in a rut. She couldn’t quite figure out her life and was stuck trying to write a musical piece. So, her friend, the magic Mr. Magorium (played expertly by Dustin Hoffman) gives her a gift to inspire her. It is a large wood block. But he tells her if she believes in it, it will help her figure out what she is to do. She knows it to be only a block of wood, but accepts it gratefully and throws it to the side. After all, how can a wood block solve her problems?

Later on in the movie, she is desperate for “something”. So she sits down with the cube. Staring at it she says “OK. You are supposed to have all the answers. Sop would you please just fix things? Just show me what to do”………and of course, nothing happens. So after waiting just a few seconds, she angrily stands up proclaiming “I knew you couldn’t help. Fine! I’ll just go and do it myself!”

WOW! What a powerful moment in the both the plot of this storyline and in most of our lives! How many times do I treat my Heavenly Father like that? I believe he has answers but I only come to Him when at my ropes end. And then, I expect Him to act on MY whim and immediately give me clarity. And how many times when we do not see an answer right away, do we storm off saying “Fine. I will do it myself!”

I believe we treat prayer like this far too often. Instead of using it as a tool to line ourselves up with God’s will and plan, and to patiently listen to His voice, we want it to act like a cosmic ATM, spewing out nuggets of blessing at our every whim!

In the movie, only when Molly began to fully BELIEVE in the power of the cube did it respond. When she wholeheartedly threw herself into believing in the total power of the cube, the cube responded and came alive. Then, she was able to see everything clearly.

I think you get the point….there is immense power in prayer. The answers are there. God is in control. You and I……well, we just gotta’ believe.


dan the man said...

prayer has crazy power. i prayed for something today. and god will either answer "yes, no or maybe". that means he is always right. how awesome is that!

Brian Pannell said...

who is this smart aleck?

dan the man said...

just being honest, man. you taught me to think about things. and this is the honest truth. people can't really be truthful about things out in the open, you know? people are always there to tell them they're wrong and stuff. or to think things are true anyway. if something doesn't make sense that people need to just say it plainly and stop making excuses and stuff. prayer is cool cause it like gets your might off negative and makes it positive. but we make god answer the right answer all the time. it kinda is silly. but that is just my thoughts.

Brian Pannell said...

so who is "Dan the Man"? Interesting thoughts. I found your first one quite funny.
I appreciate what you are saying...I don't think prayer has ever made a claim to "make God right". What do you even mean by this? What is the "right" anwer?

dan the man said...

i was meaning that no matter what the answer is. yes, no or maybe. people say god gave you an answer. when you could have not prayed and got the same answers. people interpret it as an answered prayer. you could pray to a mailbox and the mailbox would answer yes no or maybe.