The Fault in Our Stars, and Devoid of Hope

tfios

Don’t worry I’m not going to spoil the movie for you.

But after watching The Fault in Our Stars with my wife, I couldn’t help but express a couple of thoughts that surfaced throughout the film.

The Fault in Our Stars is a movie based upon a novel by John Green that, apparently, according to those who’ve read the book, remains faithful to its original intent.

The film is well written and directed, alluring you into the hearts and minds of a couple of teenagers who have been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Despite their imminent fate, the couple, which met at a cancer support group, decides to take the risk of falling in love. Soon after, the growing bond between them leads them into an adventure filled with questions; questions of meaning, and purpose.

Sadly enough, I felt that this tragic love story never really offered any hope.

You live. You die. And that’s it.

It was as if they had “YOLO” (You Only Live Once)–the modern mantra of young people–tattooed across their hearts. They believed only in the here-and-now, and that there was nothing beyond their young love; nothing beyond their short existence.

Is it true? Is this it, for us, as mankind? Is there no hope beyond this life, beyond death itself?

For the Christian, the answer is a resounding yes!

The Apostle Paul had been beaten, stoned, whipped, shipwrecked, hungry, tired, thirsty, and threatened with all sorts of unimaginable dangers.

And yet Paul, despite his weakened condition, wrote to the church at Corinth, saying:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Now do you notice all of the contrasts concerning the temporal versus the eternal?

Outer self / inner self

Wasting away / renewed day by day

Light / beyond all comparison

Momentary affliction / eternal weight of glory

Seen / unseen

Paul is declaring to us that his motivations in life are predicated upon the eternal hope that he has in the resurrected Christ. So then, whether Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, or suffering from physical ailment, he would not allow the temporal things in this life take his eyes off of Jesus!

One commentator has this to say, concerning Paul’s usage of contrasts:

The outer person is what belongs to this world that is temporary and crumbling and what those who only evaluate things from a fleshly perspective can see. By contrast, the inner person belongs to what has ultimate significance and is being transformed and prepared for resurrection life through God’s matchless power.[1]

We are being prepared for resurrection life. Therefore, everything that we see in this life, in the here-and-now, we ought to see as a stepping-stone into the next. We ought to focus, not on what is seen, but that which is unseen; namely, eternal existence within the Kingdom of God, and being face-to-face with God Himself.

Throughout church history, and even as recorded by Scripture itself, suffering has been the means by which mankind has been strengthened in their faith. Suffering causes us to reflect upon our weak and temporal state, and depend upon the Creator for whom we are created.

While some may say that death is the only thing that is for certain, the believer knows that the resurrection life and eternity with God is for certain, for those whose hope is found in Him. A life that’s far greater than any life we could ever live, here, on earth.

As for the movie, I think you should watch it, think about it, and then think about it some more through a Gospel-lens. Maybe even go one-step further and talk about it with friends, both believer and non-believer alike.

Talk about the hope that lies beyond the grave. The hope we have in a resurrected Savior, who promises us life after death, in eternity with Him.

Oh, and don’t forget the Kleenex. It’s a bit of a tearjerker.

[1] David Garland, The New American Commentary: 2 Corinthians (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 1999), 240.

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