It never ceases to amaze me the things that God will reveal to me or remind me about at the most random times and in moments when I’m not even locked into receiving anything. Usually when I get to late in the evening, my mind begins to wind down as we all do, getting ready to turn in for the night. Last night was a exception. Coming home from an evening watching my daughter sing at a Talent Show, which was awesome by the way, we came home to wind down. Kids went off to bed. Amber was working on a couple things, and I flipped the TV channels and found “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” It was about mid-way through, but I didn’t care. Love that movie, so I kept it there and watched.
If you’re not familiar with the movie, Matt Damon plays a man named Rannulph Junuh from Savannah, GA, who had everything going for him as a golfer and then after losing his entire unit in World War I, even though he was decorated with the Medal of Honor, Junuh was completely lost and taken out, still stuck on the battlefield. A chance to find his way back to the game comes a decade later to play against two great golfers, Bobby Jones and Walter Hagan. Along comes Bagger Vance, played by Will Smith. A simple looking man, who just happened to walk up one night and offered Junuh his services a caddie. It was on from that point and the work began to restore Junuh, not to who he was, but to who he was meant to be.
There’s something very mystical about this movie and one thing that John Eldredge shared at Wild at Heart was that Bagger Vance, in this movie, is the image of the Holy Spirit, looking to restore Junuh to his true self and finding his place in the field, or as we would say, finding himself in Christ. Bagger counsels and guides Junuh in just the way I see the Holy Spirit working on us in restoring our union with the Father and the Son. It’s really quite something to see and think about. Follow-me a little here as I share this.
When Junuh first starts to play in the tournament. He is terrible and falls 12 strokes behind Jones and Hagan. He looks to Bagger for help and Bagger offers him little help. He asks Bagger, “Any ideas?” when Junuh is in a bunker. Bagger says, “huh..about what?” Junuh frustrated, just grabs a club and Bagger says, “Yeah, that’s a good one there.” At this point, Junuh is completely relying on himself. thinking he can just get back to the way things were. His game would return to the glory it once was. Bagger leaves him alone in this self-reliance and Junuh pays for it as his game suffers. After the round, Bagger tells him, “The Junuh you was, you ain’t never gonna be again; ever.”
This is just how I see the Holy Spirit working in us and restoring us when we are taken out and lost. Often times we try to get ourselves back on our own. That’s exactly what I did. Thinking I could just find my way, find my motivation in life and career again. I wasted 3 years in doctorate studies and went to different seminars looking for motivation, but nothing doing. Trying to make it on my own didn’t get me anywhere but back to square one. This is much the same way that Junuh found himself way behind.
In much the same way as the Holy Spirit, at just the right moment, Bagger says, it’s time. Time to see the field. Time find our swing. Time to find our true self. Time to find our authentic self and to be who we were created to in Christ. To “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” Ephesians 4:24. Through the next parts of the movie, Junuh leans completely on Bagger, listening to him and all of a sudden, his game returned and he found confidence in himself to maybe win this tournament against to of the worlds greatest golfers.
At one point, Junuh’s old self returns and he becomes over confident in himself again and his game began to crash back down. At the moment of most desperation, when Junuh is retrieving his ball in the woods, Bagger digs right in. Takes him back to the moment he lost himself on that battlefield. Telling him it’s time to let that go. He says he’s right there with him and that he’s been there all along. Time to let the field choose him and bring out his true, authentic self, but all we have to do is get ourselves out of its way. In the same way, Christ is choosing us and wants to restore us, if we will get out of our own way and let Him in.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” Revelation 3:20. Jesus is there knocking, and ready to come in an restore us. The Holy Spirit will be there to guide us through the whole thing. It’s not an easy road and often times, it will be a painful one when we are brought back to the wounds and sins that took us out in the first place.
Jesus came into my heart and restored me over 9 months ago. The Holy Spirit was with me over the last many years since I was lost and taken out. He allowed me to go through it on my own at first, but at just the right time, caused me to throw my hand up in that Bible Study to admit I was doing things alone. Caused me to venture outside my comfort level and head west for a few days. Then when I was at my moment of sheer desperation and pain, Jesus came into those wounds, having already chosen me, but I got out of His way and no longer relied myself. It was all about Him and His choosing at that point and I’ve been following ever sense.
God wants to restore each and every one of us. He choose each of us to put on our new nature of Christ. We just have to get ourselves out of the way and let Him come in to restore us. He’s there with us all along. He showed me that and just has Bagger told Junuh, “I’ve been right here with you all along.” He has never given up on us and is waiting on us to open the door.