First of all if you haven’t seen God’s Not Dead…what are you doing?!? You need to check it out! It’s a great movie and it will forever be one of my favorites.
The name of Jesus is becoming less and less welcomed in the world (especially in schools) with each passing day. If we as Christians don’t take a stand now, who knows what will happen.
God’s Not Dead 2 welcomes us back to Hope Springs where a beloved teacher Grace Wesley (played by Melissa Joan Hart) helps her students to understand and enjoy history. Her love of her profession, her love for her students and her love of life in general all stem from the same place…her love of Christ and her love for her faith.
Now this is where it becomes tricky, Grace doesn’t work in a private Christian school, she teaches in a public school where bringing up the name of Jesus or God is tricky and can get you into a lot of trouble. By sending your children to public school it allows a separation of church and state, by discussing religion in the public classroom it violates that separation which can anger some parents. Non-believers can often view someone discussing their religion as them trying to push their religion on a person who might not believe exactly what they do. Though that is often not the case, it is often how it is perceived.
During the movie, Brooke, a student grieving the loss of her brother, reaches out to Grace at a local coffee shop. During their conversation Brooke asks Grace (Mrs. Wesley) how she deals with certain things in her life, naturally it brought Grace to sharing how she finds hope and comfort in Christ.
Now you’re probably sitting there thinking, how is that so wrong? They were outside of school and all she did was be honest with her. Brooke asked her a question and she gave her an honest answer. There should be nothing wrong with that…but it will later be used against her.
A little later into the movie Mrs. Wesley is giving a history lesson about Gandhi and his teachings Brooke raises her hand and asks a question…bringing up Jesus. Thinking very carefully, Mrs. Wesley contemplated how she was going to answer this question, or if she was even going to answer it. But she did. Though her answer was very reasonable, it will later land her in big trouble. Her principal and superintendent join forces with a zealous civil liberties group and Mrs. Wesley faces an epic court case that could cost her the career that she loves so much.
Now I won’t spoil the movie for you and tell you how it ends. I mean I wouldn’t tell you about it if I didn’t want you to go watch it. But let’s think about it for a minute. Could you imagine being asked a question by one of your students and feeling like you can’t answer it because it could ultimately cost you your job? I couldn’t even imagine.
I loved this movie for so many reasons. It came into my life at the perfect time to be honest. I was going through a rough patch in my life. I had lost my grandma and several other people very close to me and I was having a hard time staying connected to God. I was angry and I was upset, I didn’t understand why God was taking all of these amazing people away from me, and all at once. It was heartbreaking and devastating and I wasn’t sure how to handle all of it. Instead of turning to prayer for answers, I let my anger and confusion consume me. I felt like God had abandoned me when I needed Him the most. I know that sounds crazy but I honestly believe that everyone goes through it at least once in their life.
I remember the first time I watched it and I felt this overwhelming feeling at one point (I would tell you what point but I feel like that might ruin the movie), and I remember just crying, sobbing really. I remember sitting there realizing that it was silly of me to think that God wasn’t there for me. I knew that God was there for me, He was always there for me and He always will be. I had just been so angry and confused and upset that I decided to block Him out. But watching this movie helped me wakeup and realize something that I should’ve known all along.
“Lord you said that once I decided to follow you,
we would walk side by side through life,
but when I needed you most, I saw only one
set of footprints in the sand.
The Lord replied, ‘I love you, and I would never
leave you. During your times of trial and suffering.
When you see only one set of footprints it was
then that I carried you’ “.
I have been a Catholic all my life, 25 years to be exact. Now I haven’t always known what it really meant to be a Catholic. As I grew up I began to understand and as Catholics we are taught that God will always be there for us. If you read the Bible it’s true, God is always there for us whether we realize it or not. Those times that we think that He is not there…I feel like it is really us blocking Him out. I know that’s exactly what I was doing. I was angry and instead of letting Him guide me through the pain and the troublesome times I blocked Him out. But the good thing about God is, that even if you do block Him out, when you’re ready to go back to Him, He is there waiting with open arms. I may have blocked God out from my mind during those difficult times in my life, but I know that He still carried me through them. How do I know that? Because I don’t believe that I would’ve made it through them if He hadn’t.
My point is, that if you’re a Catholic teacher and teaching in a Catholic school, realized that you are blessed because you get to share your faith daily with your students without fear of being punished or potentially losing your job. As for those teachers that aren’t that lucky, keep your faith strong and don’t be afraid to be who you are.
If you check out this movie, pleases let me know! If you have already watched it, let me know what you thought of it. I know this can be a controversial topic, so please no arguing in the comments. Let’s be respectful of each other’s opinions please.