For the last four years my wife, Jeanine, and I have tried to watch the Academy Awards’© “Best Picture” nominees. So far this year, after seeing half of the nominees, I see a pattern among these films; it is what one of the films (“Bridge of Spies”) calls ‘The Standing Man’. These movies all portray a quality within the human character which refuses to stay down after an attack (physical or otherwise) and continues to contend for what is right. Whether it is a futuristic road warrior fighting human trafficking, a group of reporters fighting a monolithic authority or an insurance attorney fighting for diplomatic freedom, these are stories of people who continue to stand up against adversity.
It may be argued that these storylines resonate with us because we long to have the inner strength to be ‘The Standing Man’. We may long to have the intestinal fortitude to sit at a doctor’s desk and agree to the recommendations of a second opinion, remaining in the fight against stage-four cancer. We may long to have the depth of character to stay in a dysfunctional marriage and love our very human spouse, refusing to acquiesce to the culture’s simple solution of no-fault divorce. We may long to have the benefit of perspective to last in a challenging work environment and build a resume under a terrible boss, knowing that the experience is preparing you for something better in due time. We may even long to place braces on our bottom teeth, enduring a moderate amount of pain for a few days with the promise of a healthy smile for years to come.
There is the spiritual principle of hope at work in the heart of “The Standing Man”. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines hope as,
Biblical hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s guidance. More specifically, hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future. This contrasts to the world’s definition of hope as “a feeling that what is wanted will happen.
Those that know God know that hope is not simply optimistic wishful thinking, but rather confidence in the consistency of God. Our hope in having the temperament of “The Standing Man” comes from the one who exemplifies this tenacity – Jesus Christ, who ‘for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).’
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:19-20
If you would like to know this hope that enables the meekest among us to stand before the mighty, trust in the truth of Easter – the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Since God raised the Lord from death, and in so doing has cancelled the punishment and penalty of sin , and enabled hundreds to witness the same, and in so doing gave us tangible proof that He keeps His promises, we can have confidence that what God has done before He can do again. And that enables us to repeatedly rise after the painful blows of circumstance knock us down. Through Christ, we can be “The Standing Man”.