Monday, August 13, 2012

No Holds Barred

Yesterday afternoon I watched a 1993 Disney remake of their 1963 movie, "The Incredible Journey" ... called "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey". Of course both movies are adaptations of Sheila Burnford's book, The Incredible Journey.

It was an incredibly powerful experience, since I hadn't seen the movie in about 10 years.  

To recap the plot, a newly blended family drops its three pets (two dogs and a cat) off in the Sierra Madres with a friend while they go off to San Fransisco so that the husband can work at a temporary job.  The animals believe something is wrong, and set out for "home" - the only home they know - and go through all kinds of perilous adventures along the way, in order to get there, where their family waits for them.

In the 1993 version, Chance, a young, energetic pit bull terrier, narrates the story.  He and Sassy, a pampered but good-hearted Himalayan cat (think a long-haired cat with Siamese markings) and an old and faithful Golden Retriever named Shadow, try to get back to young Jamie, middle child Hope, and eldest Peter, their masters respectively. Their experiences, their conversations, come to life in the voice talents of Michael J. Fox, Sally Field and Don Amenche. The animal friends face hunger, rough terrain and various wildlife including a skunk, a porcupine, a mother bear, and a cougar as they cross the mountain range. They cross hundreds of miles, bonding and building character, all to get back home.  

Watching that familiar story unfold again, as always I was struck with the lengths they go through to get back to where old Shadow is convinced that "Peter needs me." His faith and his perseverance are contagious, and he keeps the younger animals focused on their one goal:  Home.  

Shadow limping over the crest of the hill toward his Peter
When Shadow rounds the last hill and sees his Peter for the first time in weeks, his heart says, "Peter." His heart's voice is full of love. This is my favorite moment in the film.  The old dog only has eyes for the boy.  Everything in his soul is in that one name.  He loves, lives for Peter.  And Peter loves him right back.  

I've always seen that movie as symbolic of the journey we are making back home to our Father, and that particular scene as being our joy at finally reaching Home (and His at our arrival).  But yesterday, I saw it from a slightly different perspective.  

Abandoned by us, rejected by us in everyday living and busy-ness, yet flying in the face of the circumstances and braving every terror out of sheer love, Jesus continues to believe in us and will never, never stop until He is with us in fellowship in the way that He wants.  He longs to meet our every need and live in intimate relationship with us, and will stop at nothing - no holds barred - to knit our hearts together with His.  His whole heart .... is us.  We are the joy set before Him.  And He will never, NEVER give up on us.  Not because of how much we strive to be with Him - but because of how much He loves us.  

Nothing could be more powerful than that.

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