By SHARON K. GILBERT
September 12, 2008
MANY OF YOU may already know this, but one of my all time favorite movies is M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs starring Mel Gibson. This beautifully directed film centers around the family of Graham Hess, a jaded, former pastor who has left his calling in the wake of his wife’s accidental death. Hess’s splintered family must unite to survive an alien invasion or die.
Film school students must have a field day analyzing the content and camera work employed by Shyamalan. I shudder to ponder the precariously high pile of papers that must surely already exist, each one carefully cataloging and endlessly examining motifs, methods, and metaphors. Admittedly, I love watching the film for that very reason — there is so much ‘There’ there.
I bring the movie to your attention, because one of my favorite lines comes when Caroline Paski, a local police officer, suggests that Hess and his family might need some ‘family time’:
You and your family have been
through a lot in the last two days…
Not to mention what happened to
you all seven months ago.
Paski stares at Graham.
And three weeks.
It’s left its mark still. The last
thing these children need to do, is
worry about some crazy things
happening in the world. Take them
into town. Get their minds — your
mind, on everyday things. It’s
While this advice might sound simplistic and even a bit naive, it’s far deeper and wiser than it first appears. In fact, I’d say it’s scriptural. Consider Psalm 46:8-11:
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
The LORD of hosts [is] with us; the God of Jacob [is] our refuge. Selah.
One of the main motifs in the film Signs concerns the notion of coincidence versus luck. In Psalm 46, God tells us that He works behind the scenes of politics and wars and everyday things for His purposes. Yes, we see these frightening occurences — it’s hard not to, but can we truly comprehend them? Do we understand how God goes about working all things together for good according to His purposes? Of course, we cannot possibly comprehend it in the same way God Almighty does, but we can perceive bits of it — but only by stopping to hear God’s voice, to see His perspective, by BEING STILL.
Everyday things. Be still and know that I am God.
Have you been still today? I challenge you and your family to spend the weekend doing that very thing. Begin by shutting off the television, turning off the computer, unplugging from the cacophony of crazed human communications, and simply enjoy being alive. Take a walk in a local park, throw a football, read a good book, laugh together! Perhaps, then, as the world’s stresses and noises fade, you will then be able to fine-tune your ears to listen, and hear the still, small voice of God.
As Officer Paski says, “It’s good medicine.”