One of my favorite movies of all time is “Taken.” It is a movie packed with action, drama, and suspense. It also features a plot that hits home for all parents, or older brothers like me, of teenage girls. Basically the parents of this 17 year old girl allow her to go with her friend to Europe to follow their favorite touring rock band. Her mother willingly lets her go, but her father Bryan (played by actor Liam Neeson) is extremely reluctant to give her permission. In the end, he was right as his daughter and her friend are “Taken” by slave traders.
When Bryan and his wife find out that their daughter has been taken, all happiness is sucked out of them. They have lost the most important thing in their lives, their beloved daughter Kim. However, the second Bryan finds out that Kim was taken his immediate thought is how to hunt down the people that captured her and get her back. He doesn’t waste any time weighing his options, the only option is to rescue her. The rest of the movie surrounds Bryan putting the skills he learned when he worked as an officer for the CIA to use in order to find his daughter. Although the situation seems almost impossible, Bryan is determined to go to extreme lengths to get her back. Nothing will stop him from seeing his daughter again.
The past few months I’ve been reading (and teaching my CCD class) about a section of the bible that I think many people are unfamiliar with, the books of Kings. This has really enhanced my faith life and stresses a theme which I think relates perfectly to what happens in the movie “Taken.” After King David, we see king after king after king “do evil in the sight of the Lord.” The Kings, as well as the Israelites themselves run away from their Heavenly Father, forgetting the covenant their fathers made with the Lord. As they continue to be more and more lost and “Taken” by their ways of sin and idolatry, the Israelites lose everything…their kingdom, their temple, everything.
Although the Israelites had run so far away from God, our Heavenly Father simply would not stop searching after his people. In the book of Ezekiel 34:11-12 God so lovingly tells us “For thus says the Lord God: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark.” In this beautiful verse, God promises us that he will never give up on us, no matter how lost we get. Even if we find ourselves wandering into the thickest of darkness will always be there to look after and guide us as a shepherd watches his sheep. Just as in the movie Byron is determined to find his beloved daughter, God our Father is determined to never stop searching for us, his beloved sons and daughters.
In fact, God shows just how far he is willing to go to search us out and bring us back to his love in the very person of Jesus Christ. God wants to love us so badly that he himself came down to Earth to show us his love, and to save and redeem us. God himself shepherds us, just as prophesized in the book of Ezekiel, but not in some far off spiritual sense. He actually comes down to Earth to live among us. But wait…not only does he come down to Earth, he actually dies for us. Jesus Christ died the most horrific, most painful, most embarrassing death imaginable at the time. One of the most famous verses in the bible, John 3:16, reads “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” What more proof do we need of God’s incredible love?
Just like Byron never stopped looking for his seemingly lost daughter Kim in the movie “Taken”, God never stopped searching for the seemingly lost Israelite people. He is also looking for you and for me. He will never stop seeking us out until we open our hearts to receive him. I don’t know what God sees in me that he would offer me this amazing love that I am so unworthy of, but I am eternally grateful for that love that reaches out to me every moment of every day.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me, for never giving up on me. You are my Father, my King, my Comfort, my Guide, my Lord and God. Help me to accept the love you are constantly offering to me. Help me to not be afraid to let you into the depths of my heart. Give me the strength and courage I need to allow you to live and through me, bringing your love to everyone I meet.”