Eli has been walking for 30 years. Thirty years after the sky opened up and the sun scorched the earth and a majority of the people were killed. And after that happened, any bible that was found was destroyed. Eli, speaking to a young woman named Solara who follows him, says that he heard a voice. He heard it as clearly as he could hear her speak to him. It led him to this book. This bible; the last bible on earth. He was told that he was to carry it until he found a place where it would be safe. He was told that there would be a path laid out before him and that he would be protected. And as you watch the movie, you see that. You see him in danger, you see him often fighting his way out of trouble. As I said, R rated and it is violent. But you also see that he is resolute; he will follow the direction of the voice that he heard and walk the path that is laid before him. Spoiler alert for those of you who have not seen it...Eli is blind. He cannot see the path, he cannot see the danger that is coming for him. But he continues to listen for direction every step of the way. I am sorry if I ruined the movie for you, but as you watch with that information you see things in a totally different light. You see as he turns his face towards the sun. Not to see it, but to feel it. You sense he is listening. He cannot see the light, but he follows it nevertheless. What a picture of our walk with the Lord. Even as Eli could not see the path, he had faith in the one who told him his mission and the way to go. Often we cannot see what is in the path ahead of us. We walk the way we know to go, and trouble comes, trials and tribulations and it seems as if the Lord has left us. We cannot see Him or His hand any longer. But we choose to continue to walk by faith, not by sight. No matter the circumstances, no matter how things appear, God has it all under control.
Eli says that the Lord told him that he would be protected on his journey to carry the bible west. He trusts that he heard, as he says to Solara, "I know what I hear, I know what I heard, I know I'm not crazy, I didn't imagine it." So too we have to have the faith, the conviction to believe that what we have heard from God is truth. I know we have all gone through times where friends, loved ones even have said that we are off base. That we are fools to believe as we do. That there is no way that there is a God who has us held in His hands. Who has a path and a plan for us. But as we walk we see that He is true and faithful. That does not mean that pain and sorrow and even anguish don't come our way.
In the movie there is a man named Carnegie who wants that bible. He knows the power that is in the word and he will do anything to get his hands on that copy that Eli has. He chases Eli and Solara down and demands that Eli give him the book or he will kill Solara. Eli finally relinquishes the book, to Solara's amazement. She thought he would never give it up. You then see Eli shot by Carnegie. You see the look of almost confusion on Eli's face as he is shot. You can almost hear him thinking, "But You told me You would protect me." How often have we felt the same. We are going along, doing what we know and believe we are called to and then, WHAM, the bottom is knocked out from underneath us. We are no longer on solid ground. All that we thought and all we believed seems a lie. But remember this, dear friend; God is not a man that He would lie. And in our Christian walk God certainly never promised us that we would never have troubles. Psalm 34:19, "The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." And 1 Peter 5:10, " And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us," Romans 8:18. But trials and troubles does not mean separation from God. It does not mean that His hand is not still upon us. It does not mean that He has forsaken us. And most often, those times of trials and tribulation bring us a greater faith, a greater resilience. It shows us who we are in God and Who He truly is. He is just and true and faithful.
As we watch the rest of the movie we see Eli walking again down the path made for him. He is wounded, he is scarred, he has bled for this destiny that the Lord has laid out for him. But he perseveres and he completes his mission. How does he do that, when he was forced to give the bible to Carnegie? Oh, that is the most beautiful part of the story. Carnegie finally gets his hands on the most powerful book in the world, has the lock opened to read it, and it is all in Braille! Oh how amazing that is. Just as the bible says, "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong," 1 Corinthians 1:27. When Carnegie realizes that Eli was blind, oh how confounded he is! But we still need the answer to the question, how did Eli complete his mission? He had carried that book so long, reading it every day; 30 years of faithfulness. He had become that book. He sat down and dictated every word, every verse, every chapter and the bible was printed again. He became the bible to the lost and lonely and destitute. He ingested the Word of God every day and by doing that he brought hope and life and light to the world.
Dear friends, let our walk be as Eli's. Though we may be blind, though we may stumble, though we may be beaten up, scarred and left for dead; God never leaves us, never forsakes us. "So do not throw away your confidence; it holds a great reward. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised," Romans 10:35, 36. No matter what you are going through today. You may be enduring pain that you never expected. You may be dealing with the unfairness of people taking advantage of you, of people who are without gratitude for all you have sacrificed for them. You may feel as if you are fighting an uphill battle, but fear not. "The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing," Zephaniah 3:17. And you will be found faithful by the only One whose opinion matters.
At the end of the movie, as Eli completes his mission he is asked what condition the bible is in...
"It's beat up. But it will do the job." My friend, though you may be battered and torn, wounded and bleeding, will you still do the job? Yes, by His power and grace!