I’ve been told on more than one occasion I was “good at being pregnant.” Allow me to explain. Every woman who is cooperating with the miracle of life growing within her has the right to express herself, but sometimes (and I’m slowly raising a shield in case someone chucks a rotten tomato at me) we mothers-to-be abuse that right. We take our pains, frustrations, and exhaustion out on some poor sucker, read husband, who just happens to be passing by. So being “good at being pregnant” meant that, to many folks in my life, I was easy to be around. I’ve found my hidden talent! When we are going through a difficult time, whether it’s a rough pregnancy or a personal trial, we tend to feel justified in being more demanding or abrasive or less tolerant of others. That is a lesson I feel was simmering beautifully on the back burner throughout the entire story in the movie Breakthrough. Absolutely with the shadow of a doubt, Joyce Smith loves her family and loves God even more. Her faith and perseverance are inspirational, to say the least. She truly believed that not only could a miracle happen, it was going to happen. But in the process of believing so strongly that God was going to heal her son who was lying in a hospital bed, she forgot about the people who were standing by her side. She was short-tempered with the hospital staff, frustrated with her husband for not having her same strength, guarded with their pastor, and quick to snap at anyone who did not 100% speak life in her presence and the presence of her son. Make no mistake, I’m not chastising Joyce. What I just described makes her beautifully human. Had she been portrayed as sappily-sweet while getting zero sleep, going through her own physical trial, and hearing the devastating statistics about her son’s potential quality of life, she would’ve seemed untouchable. But she is just human enough for me to think -- maybe I could be like that. Lord, if you’re reading this, please do not ever allow me to go through something like this. Please. It’s unlikely that one of my sons will fall through the ice on a lake. What’s highly likely is that at some point, my attitude is going to be my witness. When we are going through a really tough time, I mean the times where people are expecting us to just break into a million pieces, if we can cooperate with the grace of God and show love, mercy, and beauty, we will shout the gospel message.
For a bishop as God’s steward must be blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents. (Titus 1:7-9)
Titus was helping build the church, and was told what qualities to look for in the leaders he would appoint. You and I might not be bishops, pastors, or even ministry leaders, but these are qualities that we should show too. The words we say in a profession of faith are only a fraction of the gospel we preach, and there is always someone watching us! I went through a divorce in 2014 and I had to make a choice. As I was going through this divorce process, would I live out my faith or would I shove it to the side? Most days I still lived the gospel, but I’d be lying if I said I never showed any of those characteristics Titus was warned about: arrogance, irritability, aggression … and sometimes I took my pain out on the people I loved the most, just like Joyce did. I love that this part of Joyce’s story wasn’t left out of the film. This flaw in her is what finally leads to her breakthrough and causes her to fully surrender to God’s will and it’s a wonderful reminder to be loving, gentle, and hospitable even when we are the one who needs the miracle.
Copyright 2019 Abby Watts