Tied Up In “Nots”
When my kids were younger, they were huge fans of the movie, Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey. In this movie, Bruce grapples with an existential crisis that has him doubting the existence of God. God summons Bruce (played by Morgan Freeman) and challenges him to see if he, Bruce, could do a better job at being God. God transfers all of his powers to Bruce for a period of time.
Initially, Bruce is overwhelmed with such power and uses his authority for purely selfish reasons. It doesn’t take Bruce long though, to discover that the job of supreme ruler over mankind comes with hefty responsibilities.
The writers of this movie most likely wanted to offer a comedic interpretation of God while peppering the story line with a few serious undertones. My greatest takeaway message wasn’t so much about who God is and what He can do – but rather, what God IS NOT.
Throughout his stint as God, Bruce’s pursuit of selfish fulfillment is frequently interrupted by prayers from people all over the world. Millions of voices in his head praying constantly all at the same time. This at least, is not fictional as we know from Scripture God is omnipotent and hears all of our prayers.
The Lord is watching everywhere,
keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.
Bruce’s solution to receiving millions of prayers at one time, was to simply reply “Yes” to every request. His simple “Yes” destroyed a lot of people’s lives, as so many of the prayers were for completely selfish reasons. Like composing a group email, God (Bruce) said “Yes” to millions of people who prayed to win the lottery. Every prayer was answered, but because so many people prayed for a lottery win, the giant Powerball was split between millions of people, totaling winnings of a little over $12.00 per recipient.
In the “real world” innumerable people pray for lottery winnings or get rich quick schemes. We know, however, God is NOT some sort of Genie who quickly grants our wishes for wealth and material things.
God is NOT going to get even with an ex-friend or spouse because you’ve prayed for revenge.
God is NOT going to supernaturally erase your obesity overnight because you are ashamed and miserable with yourself.
God is NOT going to give you everything you want when you want it.
God is NOT to be mocked (Galations 6:7) and Hollywood-ized for the purpose of selling tickets or turning a profit.