Last night was one of those nights…nothing good on TV. So I scanned NetFlix for the random movie to enjoy, when I cam across the Loneliest Planet.
(Disclaimer: Please understand that whenever I reference a movie or book, I am not endorsing it, I am simply acknowledging I watched it, and at the least 20 seconds of it made me wonder spiritual thingies. In this case The Loneliest Planet is a long, artsy, indie movie that is boring. However, when you think about that title, that is precisely what they are trying to accomplish.)
The pivotal scene in the movie reveals the question deep in every man’s heart: when its time to act, will I be good enough?
The movie is about an American couple who is building a relationship, and the first hour shows their budding romance as they hike through Georgia (the country) with a tour guide. The movie slowly builds suspense, because you know something has to happen. Eventually it does.
The couple and tour guide are confronted with an armed older Georgian. While everyone is laughing in a foreign language, the American man asks, “What is he saying?” Which immediately causes the older Georgian to raise his rifle; instinctively the young man pulls his girlfriend in front. Putting her between the gun and his safety. However, after everyone has seen him do this, he then sheepishly pushes her behind himself.
At the moment of great heroism, he fails.
The next hour of the movie is spent watching them unravel this relationship. As she has seen who he really is, and he has discovered what he is.
It is nearly comical, but as I was watching it, it seems to capture perfectly every man’s deepest question: “Am I good enough?” When put to the ultimate test, do I have what it takes? Am I a hero?
We want to be the heroes, but we wonder deep down if we have it in us.
Hemingway captured it in “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” (Click to read short story) in which a man embarrasses himself on a safari hunt by exposing his childlike cowardice in front of his wife and the hunter. The moment he rises up as a man, he is rejecting the passivity that has hampered his marriage for too long. In his short happy moment of manhood, however, we discover it is too late.
John Eldgeridge realized this tension with heroism and hesitation in his own marriage:
I realized that I had–like so many men–married for safety. I married a woman I thought would never challenge me as a man…I wanted to look like the knight, but I didn’t want to bleed like one…The number one problem between men and their women is that we men, when asked to truly fight for her hesitate. We are still seeking to save ourselves, we have forgotten the deep pleasure of spilling our life for another.
This is precisely what the Loneliest Planet demonstrates.
It struck me recently as I was doing 125 knee ups, 250 pushups and 375 squats (but who is counting) with my fellow men of F3. Why am I working out?
If I am always getting ready, I may never enter the game. Am I waiting, hesitating, and excusing myself from acting with a “Once I”…once I get this corner office, once I get that house, once I get that extra 0 in the pay check…I wonder how many of us men are doing the same thing with our wives…but in doing so we hesitate as husbands.
Are we willing, when asked to truly fight for our spouse to lay down our life?
Jesus answered “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.”
Thankfully, we have a savior who knows we will hesitate, like Peter did. But because He laid down His life, we find the motivation to go and do likewise.