By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
People who know me well know that I love movies — the craft, the filming, screenplays, music, costumes, set production, special effects, and don’t forget the acting. And as much as I love good movies, I detest poor ones, and there are a lot of those.
However, recently we went to see the film, Breakthrough, and while I was familiar with the story, there were things that struck me by way of a secondary plot that I was not expecting. Let’s just say it was a marvelous undoing.
The story is about a 14-year-old boy who fell through the ice at a Missouri lake on Martin Luther King Weekend in 2015. He was under the water for 15 minutes, then retrieved, which itself was a miracle, and taken to a hospital. They worked on him there for almost 45 minutes; he had no pulse and was completely unresponsive. His mom was invited into the room to say goodbye.
It was there that she prayed a desperate prayer of faith, and her son’s heart started beating again. While that defied medical logic, the specialist said that he did not expect the boy, whose name was John Smith, to live through the night. To say that the community stepped up and kept praying this boy back to wholeness is an understatement. People stood for hours outside John’s hospital with candles lit, singing worship songs, and praying. Requests for prayer were put on social media and went viral. It was even reported by the local news more than once.
As familiar as I was with the story, and as much as I was anticipating seeing it, I was not prepared for the loving smack upside the head that I was about to receive. It wasn’t about increasing faith, it was about letting myself embrace more fully what has become known as “living the let-go life.”
The boy who had received the miracle has a mom, Joyce, who was a good hearted woman with a lot of control issues. She micro-managed her son, her husband, their pastors, and when it came to John’s crisis, the hospital staff. It was always for a good reason, which is why it was so hard for her to see what she was doing. Finally, her husband confronts her at the hospital with words to the effect that no matter what happened with John, she was going to have to live with the memory of how she treated people.
It was then that Joyce goes outside in the cold and surrenders. And it was that act of surrender that made all the difference, according to Joyce. We had a discussion in our fellowship on Sunday morning and the question was asked, “What if she hadn’t surrendered? Would things have turned out differently for John?” And while I don’t want to get into a theological debate over the sovereignty of God here, I just know that for me, I needed to keep looking for ways to let go and surrender, and I did.
Go see Breakthrough; you might just have one of your own.