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Favorite Movie Moment: 'Evan Almighty'

Evan Almighty was one of my favorite films of last year—my whole family enjoyed watching it together. The film, a sequel to Bruce Almighty, follows Evan Baxter (the anchor from the first film played by the ever-impressive Steve Carell) who’s just been elected a congressman and moves his family to the Washington, D.C. area. In the opening scenes as the credits are still scrawling across the screen, Evan and his wife Joan are crawling into bed in their brand new house. Joan tells him that she and the boys have just finished praying, her prayer being that the family would become closer. After they turn out the lights, Evan crawls out of bed and kneels on the floor to ask God for help to “change the world” (also his campaign slogan). God (played again by Morgan Freeman) answers his prayer—but not in the way he expects, heh. Inexplicably, God asks Evan to build an honest-to-goodness ark, just like the one Noah built in the Old Testament. Evan fights him at first, but eventually relents and starts to build the giant boat in his unfinished subdivision. Needless to say, this starts to put people off—including his wife.

At one point film, Joan packs her bags, takes their three boys and leaves Evan. They stop at roadside restaurant, and it’s obvious Joan is distraught and at her wits end—and it is here God meets her. I love this scene, not only because it illustrates how God encounters us where we are and with such abundance and personal attention but also because it illustrates how he often invites us to understand him, his Word and our situation from a different and much more spacious perspective—his perspective. And that often changes us and the choices we make. It certainly does Joan; after this scene she and the boys go back home to Evan.
As her boys head off to the restroom, Joan holds up an empty basket and gets the attention of a waiter with his back to her.

Joan: Oh, excuse me, can I get a refill please?

The waiter turns around, and, lo and behold, it is God. He smiles and holds up a finger.

God: Coming right up.

Joan (sighing softly): Thank you.

God looks at her more closely with concern.

God: Excuse me, are you alright?

Joan (shrugging): Yeah.

God looks at her.

Joan: No. It’s a long story.

She looks down at the table, shrugging again.

God: Well I like stories. I’m considered a bit of a storyteller myself.

Joan: My husband—you’ve heard of New York’s Noah?

God chuckles.

God: The guy who’s building the ark.

Joan winces.

Joan: That’s him.

God: I love that story—Noah and the Ark? You know, a lot of people miss the point of that story. They think it is about God’s wrath and anger—they love it when God gets angry.

Joan: What is the story about then, the ark?

God sits down in the empty chair next to her and speaks earnestly.

God: Well, I think it’s a love story, about believing in each other. You know, the animals showed up in pairs. They stood by each other, side by side—just like Noah and his family. Everybody entered the ark side by side.

Joan likes this.

Joan: But my husband says God told him to do it. What do you do with that?

God smiles and nods.

God: Sounds like an opportunity.

Joan looks at him surprise.

God: If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?

Joan is stunned. God smiles and gets up, briefly touches her hand.

God: Well, I gotta run. Lot of people to serve.

He points down to her plate.

God: Enjoy.

She looks down and her formally empty basket is suddenly full with fish and French fries.
(Images: screen captures copyrighted by Universal Studios)

Comments

Ken Brown said…
You have a great blog, and I agree, this is an excellent scene from a good movie (though I preferred Bruce Almighty). I've long felt that a prayer for patience is about the most dangerous kind. God always seems to respond by giving me plenty of reasons to be impatient!

God bless!
Carmen Andres said…
ken, thanks for stopping by! heh, i think 'bruce' was the better of the two, but 'evan' was one my whole family could watch, which (at least at this point in my life) gives it a special place. blessings.