Monk and the Phantom of the Opera

I love to watch a good movie - especially one that involves complex characters. The Phantom of the Opera is one such movie. Saw it on Christmas and was blown away by the music even though I have seen the stage production several times. Watching the movie I came away better understanding the Phantom. The Phantom, like most of us, is pretty complex - hard to dismiss as just an evil person ... in the end someone more tragic than evil ... more wounded than wounding.

Being somewhat of a detective show junkie I like to watch the USA network show "Monk". This past year, to my horror, I began to identify with Monk. I saw myself in Monk's obsessive-ness and became quite uneasy when I realized how compulsive I am at times. But I wasn't always this way - at least I didn't think so. From my mid-20s to my late-30s I fancied myself a 'free' person - someone set free by Christ from sin and all the things that accompany sin. Then one day as I was entering the parking garage at work I became aware of something - I had rules of where I parked ... almost always parked in the same spot or at least the same area. This was the beginning of an awakening of sorts - a terrifying journey of self discovery analogous to a trip into the Phantom's labyrinth.

The Phantom, Monk and Me - all a lot more complicated than I want to admit. Most of my life I have lived in the Black and White world of Right and Wrong. I really didn't like color because, like the gray areas in life, color is not absolute ... it does not fit neatly into a rigid paradigm ... and most of all I cannot be 'in control' if I cannot separate black from white and right from wrong ... with color it is all irrelevant. The Phantom can at times seem good and at times evil ... his actions reveal his heart. Monk can at times be sick and at times be healthy. And I can be whole even when I am clueless.

I think that when we stop looking for the black and white in life we will begin to appreciate the full spectrum of God's color and possibly get a glimpse of His redemptive power and plan for our life.

An Eye For Redemption

Several years ago God spoke a phrase to me concerning suffering. In the quietness of my spirit He said "I am God and I have an eye for redemption". He continued to speak to me of how in the seemingly most tragic events of history, and in particular my life, He was and is working to bring redemption from them.

Redemption is a word that in essence means a buying back. A mortgage on your home may be redeemed if you have the funds to pay it off or buy it back from the Mortgage Company. So it is with the sorrows and hardships of our lives. God sees our lives in light of redemption. The trials that we endure are not for naught. He wants to use them, redeem them, and make something beautiful out of them.

My prayer for you is that God would open your eyes to His working in the midst of your pain.. that He would bring hope to your life as you see how he uses difficulties, pain and hardship to bring about his purposes.