Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Perseverance Of The Heavenly Father Seen In An Earthly Father’s “The Pursuit of Happyness”

Every so often a Hollywood film comes along that reveals something profound about the heart of the Heavenly Father. “The Pursuit Of Happyness,” is such a film. It is based on the true story of a once-homeless, single father, Chris Gardner who does just that and who overcomes one hardship after another with a determination to provide a better life for himself and his son. Will Smith plays Gardner, and his real life son, Jaden, plays Gardner’s son, Christopher.

The real-life Gardner was born in inner-city Milwaukee and grew up with an abusive step-father. He was faced with doing as his biological dad had done and leaving his son with the boy’s mother, but he chooses to be committed to his son and keep him with him. After the boy's mother decides to leave on her own, he and his son wind up homeless on the street.

Gardner seeks to land a longshot job as a Dean Witter stockbroker, where only one of twenty who have been selected into a special program actually is offered a job after six months. He does this while trying to sell a bone density measuring device to doctors in their offices, which they usually deem either too expensive or unnecessary. (I will leave it there for you who haven’t seen the movie yet!)

What this story powerfully portrayed to me was the relentless pursuit of one father to provide for his son. This father courageously leads his son through the streets of San Francisco struggling to keep them both warm and fed. No matter how dark or discouraging the circumstances, he never quits because he keeps the goal of financial success for himself and security for his son always in mind.

Jesus, whom the prophet Isaiah said would be called “the Everlasting Father” lived with such a perseverance. He kept the goal always in mind, even to the very end, to His death upon the cross. This Son’s perseverance to trust His Heavenly Father amidst the excruciating pain, humiliation and separation on the cross in order to bring a sinful, undeserving people like us to the Heavenly Father to become His adopted sons and daughters, is the ultimate story of perseverance.

Of course, Gardner is not a complete picture of Jesus or the Heavenly Father! The film Gardner shows many human foibles, and for sure the real life Gardner has his share of faults. In the film, you see a man with a strong undercurrent of anger that comes out towards his girlfriend. Healso demonstrated some ethically questionable street smarts to survive the human jungle of San Francisco. But he does give us a glimpse of one important aspect of the Heavenly Father, the tackling and overcoming of every obstacle in pursuit of his dream. Though for the Heavenly Father, His dream is not temporal financial success, but an eternal family that includes you and me, with His Son, Jesus, becoming “the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29)

In order to read what other dads said in response to the last Fanning The Flame article, click here: And here’s a couple of questions for you regarding this article: What do you find you are fighting to overcome right now as a father? What helps you to persevere?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The film is a gripping potrayal of a father's commitment in the face of staggering circumstances and it indeed shows a glimpse of how much our heavenly Father loves us so intentionally.

The film was a snapshot in time and did not begin to illustrate the long-term relationship dynamics in father-son relationships.

As I watched the movie with my grown sons I began to reflect on two themes that I would share.

First, it strengthens our fathering when we can see beyond the immediate situation and recognize the long-term cumulative impact of shared experiences with our sons and our Father. It provides e healthy perspective on how wisdom & love can grow through the seasons our lives.

Second, it made me very grateful for how my Father provided in His plan, a way for His Son, to provide for all fathers throughout eternity.

It also made me consider how my relationship in Jesus Christ stays alive and healthy through continuous loving interactions. Those are just like the interactions with my growing adult sons. The thriving relationships come from unconditional commitment to love each other unconditionally just like Jesus Christ loves us.