Beyond the Barrier

Ma: You’re gonna love it.

Jack: What?

Ma: The world.

As I have shared before, my wife and I have seen all the films nominated for the Oscar© for Best Picture.  One of those films, Room, has been on my mind.  Room tells the story of Ma, a young mother who was kidnapped at 17 and has spent the last 7 years being held captive in the titular space, and Jack, Ma’s 5 year-old son.  Early in the movie the audience realizes that everything Jack knows is found in “room” and his frame of reference is exclusively “room” – he thinks that “room” is floating in space and everything he sees on the small TV in “room” is make-believe.roomposter

In a pivotal scene in the picture, Ma devises a plan to escape and decides to prepare Jack for life outside “room”.  Using the reference of the TV shows Jack has seen, she explains that trees are real and people are real, that streets and cars and dogs are real.  Jack is incredulous.  He cannot comprehend life outside of his eight foot by eight foot by eight foot understanding of all that exists.  He even gets mad at Ma for lying to him, with her pretending that there would be something more than “room”.    Watching this interaction was gut-wrenching because I can identify with Jack’s inability to process the unknown.

Room has been in my thoughts because I picture the disciples of Christ feeling just like Jack as the prospect of the crucifixion loomed in the future.  Jesus had told them, on at least three occasions, that he was going to Jerusalem to be killed and then they would see him again.  They were incredulous.  They could not comprehend life beyond their frame of reference.  They could not believe that Jesus would escape death’s grip and fulfill his outlandish claims.   One of them, Peter, even voices in anger that what Jesus claims must never take place.  It just could not possibly be true, could it?

After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.  Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.  John 2:22 (NIV)

The disciples saw and believed.  All those fantastic promises were true.  Reality is so much greater than our ability to process it.   The one who had seen life beyond the barrier was right about all of it.  There is life and freedom, joy and reunion just on the other side.  The question I have is this: do you and I live like Jack or like Ma, like the disciples at the Last Supper or the disciples after the risen Jesus appears in the upper room a few days later?   Do I trust in all that I know or know that the one I trust has provided me with more than I can ask or imagine?

We, who live on this side of the empty cross, are blessed that we need not live in spiritual captivity or the confines of the limits of our human experience.  We can live in the light of the empty tomb and be encouraged by the conquest of Christ, who has secured for all those who trust in Him a future that our brains cannot fully comprehend.

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