What the Movie Arrival Taught me about God


I watched the movie Arrival recently and can’t stop thinking about it. I’m struck by the scene when Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker are take up Amy Adams to the aliens for the first time.

Gravity switches and becomes disorienting. The space ship is huge. The aliens turn out to be these oddly large, unique creatures. And the look on her face is a combination of terror and awe. She can hardly move. Slowly discovering the unknown debilitates her.

I wonder, is this how I am before God? Hopefully to some degree. Scripture tells us to fear God (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Deut. 6:25; Psalm 115:13) and this scene intrigues me because it captures that reaction/emotion so well.

We also have examples in the Bible of what it was like for some to encounter God in intimate ways (Isaiah, Peter, Moses). This moment in the movie begins to touch on what I think this could be like some day. Being in the presence of someone infinitely stronger and wiser. Someone outside of time. It is a humbling thought that makes me feel so small and miniscule.

But I think this is what God wants. For us to feel our brevity and frailness before him. To be overcome by his sheer greatness. To be made speechless by his majesty. God give me this attitude. Help me to see you more clearly, to worship you more authentically and wholly.

Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
    and what is the place of my rest?
 All these things my hand has made,
    and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
    he who is humble and contrite in spirit
    and trembles at my word.”

– Isaiah 66:1,2

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