Caught in the Rising Action

August 12, 2022  •   Tracy Earl Welliver

man watching movies on ipad

Think of some of your favorite iconic movies. I’m not talking about the feel-good comedies or the offbeat coming-of-age flicks. I’m talking about the movies that you found had a profound impact on you or made you go “Hmmm.”

I’m willing to bet that the plot of this film features some tough moments and difficult scenarios. However happy the ending, at some point, the situation for the protagonist might look awfully hopeless. The script speaks some truth to you about what it is to be human in difficult circumstances. What it means to persevere.

We’re attracted to the tension that exists when the hero is besieged. We’re captivated by the decisions he makes in the darkest hour of the night when it seems like the dawn will never come. Why? Because we know that feeling so well. This is the essence of our human life on earth: waiting, hoping, doubting — and enduring.

We know the ending to our story, but we don’t know when it’s coming. We live our whole lives in the rising action of the narrative. Sure, it gets old. Tiresome, even dull. We may start to despair that the climactic scene is coming at all.

But faith is the realization of things hoped for, and evidence of things not seen. We feel it watching a great movie, because we recognize it intuitively: it is faith which earns the happy ending. No one is drawn to the story when the hero gives up or gets tired of waiting for the payoff. Everyday stewardship is the collection of choices we make while we’re waiting, because we are called to action, not idleness, even in our perpetual state of expectation.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

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