Two days in a row we watched two similar films that had the same sad undercurrent – a young man desperate for a sign of validation and pleasure from his Dad.
In the first movie (Into the Wild), Christopher Mccandless did everything he could to live the exact opposite of his pretentious, money-driven father. Sadly he ultimately starved to death in the Alaskan wilderness trying to prove he can survive without anything or anyone. In the second movie (The Great Alone), another young man, Lance Makey, “mushed” in his famous father’s footsteps instead, nearly killing himself again and again in the Iditarod race. And also like his father, did so at the expense of having intimate relationships.
Sadly, it was only after coming in 1st place, did Lance receive the desired embrace of his father and hear the words he longed to hear his entire life, “Son, I’m proud of you.”
I think everyone has had, or still has if they admit it, a need to be “seen,” understood, and accepted by parents in varying degrees. It’s a need everyone is born with. When lacking, there is a consequent struggle to feel at peace inside, bringing some to perform for acceptance, or to anti-perform, such as doing things to be different or to get attention. Many adults are hindered from reaching their ultimate potential because they are still subconsciously acting out of this need.
Jesus got it early!
As I was meditating on these two movies, it struck me. When Jesus went to be baptized by John, His heavenly Father gave what every young man (who looks up to his dad) longs for. In a loud voice He proudly announced, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
But what makes this really remarkable is that Jesus did not start his public ministry yet! He was not teaching, healing the sick, or making converts. He was simply “being.” Like Abraham who was said to be justified by faith before circumcision, so Jesus is acknowledged for who he was as a person before he publicly did the works that his Father did.
Jesus’ heart was “seen,” and his Father was proud of who he saw.
I believe that the confidence that Jesus received, passed on by the most important person in his life, was a great gift that empowered Jesus to mature into his fulness. With this blessing Jesus was able to begin his ministry, not to please his Father, but because he was already pleased! Knowing he was “working with a net” also gave him, I’m sure, the needed strength to resist the severe temptations that came upon him soon after in the wilderness.
There’s a lot to be said here, on many levels. It’s been giving me a lot of food for thought!
Luke 18:29-30 No one who has had to leave their … mother and father … for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times more of these in this life …