Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"God, thank you for my life..."

If you are a movie fan of a certain age then you are aware that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were at one time romantic comedy royalty in Hollywood. They had big hits with Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You've Got Mail (1998) during a period in which both of them became box office gold and the darlings of movie critics. What you may not remember- because so few people saw it- is that those films were preceded by the 1990 movie Joe Versus the Volcano. It happens to be my favorite of the Hanks/Ryan trilogy of films. The plot finds Joe, a simple man who is miserable in his work, his relationships and his life, being diagnosed with terminal illness- a "Brain Cloud." A wealthy friend (played by the great Lloyd Bridges) of his doctor offers Joe a lot of money to travel to a remote island and jump in a volcano to appease the natives (the Waponi Woo) so that he can continue to mine "bubaru," an element crucial to his business. Their volcano demands a yearly sacrifice and all of the Woo are too smart to jump. But Joe, a former fireman, is anxious to do something heroic before his life ends- so he agrees. Meg Ryan plays three different characters, the third being a daughter of the wealthy businessman. She is driving the boat that will take Joe to island of the Waponi Woo. It's a strange plot to be sure. But it gets very interesting.

At one point on their journey a huge storm shipwrecks their boat and they are left floating at sea for days on end, kept alive by the really expensive luggage Joe purchased with the money he was paid. Patricia (Ryan) is unconscious. As they begin to run out of fresh drinking water, Joe finds himself thinking not of himself for the first time in years, but of Patricia. He cares for her, giving her sips of the water to keep her alive. Finally, as Joe is suffering from dehydration, he awakes one final time and has the following revelation:

I won't spoil the ending of the movie, because it's awesome and you WILL have to see it now...right? But my focus today is on Joe's simple, honest prayer. We do forget just how BIG our God is, don't we? No matter the weight of our circumstances, God is bigger. No matter the depth of our despair, God is bigger. Mo matter the pain in our relationships, God is bigger. No matter our sins, our doubts, our frustrations and our failures- GOD IS BIGGER! Joe figures that out, and eventually decides that life is indeed worth living.- after a few twists and a lot of orange soda. The Waponi Woo love them some orange soda...

My hope is that today you will join me in praying Joe's prayer. You may be like me and just have days where you feel overwhelmed by life, or like Joe and be unsure of who God is or if God could possibly care about you. Today put that aside and remember that God is BIG, that God loves you, and that you are here on this spinning orb we call earth to make a difference. "God, thank you for my life..."  Never give up hope.

One last thought- if you are ever diagnosed with a "Brain Cloud," get a second opinion...

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous11/18/2014

    This post just blows me away. I've never seen the movie, but I know that feeling of seeing my problems as being bigger than my God. Thanks so much for the reminder. And for making me want an orange soda. ~Chris Cooper

    1. Thanks Chris. It's not a great movie, but I do love it. And yes...we all need to live like we believe God is bigger than the world we live in. Now have an Orange Crush.


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