Tears of the Sun Questioning God
Tears of The Sun is a powerful film that graphically depicts persecution in a restricted nation and lends legitimacy to missionaries and faith itself.
Bruce Willis, commander of a force of Navy SEALs, is parachuted into a mission compound in Nigeria at a time that rebel forces have captured that country and are involved in ethnic (religious) cleansing. The SEALs’ task is to escort an American missionary doctor out of the country.
Under rebel rule, any religion is in jeopardy that is not the prescribed rebel’s religion – including Christianity. There has been evidence that such slaughter has already taken place elsewhere. Despite that, a priest and two nuns at the mission decide to stay behind in order to be with their people and to comfort them while Willis and his team of Navy SEALs leave with the missionary doctor and those able to walk.
As they leave, the priest calls out, “Go with God.”
The commander’s response is, “God already left Africa.”
Let’s talk about this:
- Is Willis’ characters’ (the Navy SEAL commander) response “God already left Africa” justified in light of what he is seeing in Africa?
- Let’s look at Job 2:9-10 (Job lost land and children in tragic “acts of nature.” His wife cynically questions God):
“His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die! He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
- It’s ironic – when tragedy strikes, some Christians blame the devil, while others who aren’t Christians blame God. Life is life. Life happens. Often God, in his sovereignty allows circumstances to affect our lives. Sometimes Satan, in attempts to keep us down, orchestrates situations to twist our perception of God. Whether God, Satan, an act of nature, or the result of our own choices, life happens.
- The commander’s response stems from a lack of evidence of God’s presence in a country that is systematically destroying itself. Is there a time in your life when you have questioned God’s presence?
- Did you really think He abandoned you, or were you just angry or wanting someone to blame?
- Does God ever really leave us on our own?
- Read Deut. 31:6 (NIV) (where Moses was assured by God):
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
- How can we distinguish between what feels like God leaving us, and the biblical truth that He refuses to?
- How does it feel to know that when things are bad, someone will always be with us?
- A Christian who had come out of a difficult, questioning time in their life wrote in their journal…
“I’m convinced that when we are faced with difficulties, God’s goal for us is not always that we ‘get it’ but rather that we ‘get Him.’”
- If you thought that God would reveal Himself to you personally, would you be willing to give up having all the answers to your “why’s”? Why or why not?
We don’t always understand what God allows to take place in this life. We have a choice. We can go through life cynically: questioning God over every bad thing, never knowing or surrendering our lives to Him, and ultimately dying without Him. Or, we can go through life with God: questioning Him – perhaps not getting all the answers we want, but getting to know Him better – therefore, going through life with perspective and hope in Him. This will ultimately lead to being with Him eternally through our death.
Taking what we know God tells us throughout the Bible (like the verses we discussed earlier), God clearly loves us and cares for us. We may not always understand why every single thing happens in this world – but we can rest confidently in the knowledge that God’s plan prevails above all. Until the day He returns we can take every step within His power and infinite mercy, having assurance in His protection over our lives.
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for parents on his website TheSource4Parents.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.