If you have a toddler, have ever babysat for a toddler, or have just seen the way the movie “Frozen” has taken over toy aisles in the past few years, you are aware of the idea that toddlers become big fans of movies.
I have the pleasure of watching my cousins kiddos for half of the week and have been doing so for about a year an a half. The oldest, Flynn, will be turning three in July. She has certainly gone through the Frozen obsession and more recently all three of the Toy Story movies, but more recently we have moved onto “The Croods.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s an animated film, showcasing a family of cavemen and how they have survived the trials of prehistoric life. The rebel daughter, Eep, doesn’t like hiding in their cave of a home. Her father has kept them in the dark for so long in order to keep them alive, his mantra being “never not be afraid.” From the beginning of the movie, Eep is fascinated by the sun and light. She wants to chase the light until the sun goes down, stay in its warmth, and enjoy the brightness of it; rather than staying in the darkness of the cave (or the safety of the cave as her father would say).
Anna and I have both talked about how different stories and movies display the gospel to us. And although it’s been a while since I’ve watched “the Croods” from start to finish (after all, I am watching it with a toddler full of toys in the room, food in the fridge, and sunshine outside), the juxtaposition of fear and darkness with living a life to the full and light in the movie continues to pull my heart back to God’s word.
What does darkness look like for us, if not just absence of light? Maybe this: How often have you kept a secret? Kept something hidden from your spouse, your friend, or tried to keep it from God. What’s the driving emotion behind your action?
Fear of what might happen if that truth was exposed. Fear of rejection, abandonment, being seen as “less than.” Just because something is hidden, or in the dark doesn’t mean it’s not there. Think of your bedroom at night for a moment. If you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you still have an idea of where you possibly dropped your clothes from the day before or where the pillow fell off the bed. Sight of something and knowledge of the truth are two different things. Just because you may not be able to see your pants on the floor, you know it’s still there. You’ll probably still trip over them because the lights are out. Now turn on the light for a moment. Besides waking up whoever else is in the room, now you can see what’s around you. You can see a clear path to the bathroom. The situation is exactly the same as it was before, you just have a better idea of how to get to the bathroom.
Light exposes the reality of a situation. If light is present, darkness cannot be. The two cannot live in the same place. 1 John 1:5-7 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (NIV)
Eep wanted to explore, discover new things in her world, and live a life full of exploration. 1 John says that if we walk in the light, we will have fellowship with one another and are purified from all sin. I can’t think of a better way to live life to the full. What would it look like if in our church community we were open and honest about our shortcomings. What if when we had fears of the unknown, we exposed them, in order to gain freedom from the weight in which the secret carries. But above the acceptance and fellowship offered by our community, we would be purified from sin. We would be cleansed of the shortcoming and made one with Christ. This, to me, feels like life to the full.
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV).
There’s a moment in the end of the movie when Eep and her father are up in arms about whether or not to take a risk. Her father is saying they can’t do it, it’s too risky and they could die. Eep’s remark is one that I think sums this all up well.
My prayer is that we would live as children of the light. That we would not be afraid of the unknown, of being exposed for our shortcomings, that we would live a life of freedom, and chase after the Light. The gospel is not hidden among us. It’s displayed in everything, even in a children’s movie like, “The Croods”.