I love the movie A River Runs Through It. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it, because I’ve actually lost count.
I love everything about the movie, from its perfect casting to the story of a Presbyterian minister who imparts his love of fly fishing to his two sons. Particularly, I love the poignant storyline of the younger brother who is so immensely likeable but destined to keep making poor choices.
In the end, that son makes one poor choice too many and it costs him his life. At his funeral, his father imparts these words which have spoken to me in my own seasons of loss:
“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true, we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.”
That’s the key. You can’t always help those closest to you, but you can always love them. After all, that’s what God did for us. Let these words soak in for a moment:
“Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him” (Romans 5:6-8, The Message).