I Loved Doctor Strange
Recently, my wife and I rented and watched the Marvel movie, Doctor Strange. I had seen it in theaters but desperately wanted Martha to check it out. It’s an unusual superhero movie.
While Thor is battling evil in other worlds, and the Guardians are in another galaxy, and the Avengers are fighting here on earth, Doctor Strange finds himself in a different kind of engagement. His fight is spiritual. His world his mystic.
I won’t give any spoilers, I promise. But I do want to address one line that struck me as incredibly relevant to the world of faith.
Stephen Strange is at the end of his rope and turns to Eastern practices to somehow save his hands, his livelihood. Through some struggle he is finally accepted into training with The Ancient One. Her goal is to reshape his perspective of the world. To show him a new world. A world outside of matter and time.
At one point he is straining to successfully acheive a particular level of “magic.” He is frustrated and dejected. He wants to instantly acheive his goals. He wants to quickly become a master. So he asks The Ancient One…
Dr. Stephen Strange: How do I get from here to there?
The Ancient One: How did you become a doctor?
Dr. Stephen Strange: Study and practice. Years of it.
He answers his own question. Nothing worth doing is easy. No point of meaningful spirituality happens without study and practice.
It Happens In Real Life
As a pastor I have these types of interactions all of the time. People begin to see a new life happening after following Jesus. But they struggle with lack of faith, previous addiction, or healing. They want an instant fix. But the hard truth is it takes time. It takes practice.
Faith takes as much study and practice as any other meaningful effort.
The very term used to describe Jesus’ followers, disciple, indicates a lifelong process of learning, adherence, and reproduction. Learning Jesus and practicing his ways takes time. This is why so many illustrations and metaphors for spirituality are agricultural in nature.
In our mechanical, industrial mindset we want to as instantly acheive spiritual goals as if we’re turning on a light or cooking a meal. It just doesn’t happen that way. There’s a process. And that process includes moments of failure. The process is cyclical, much like farming. Seeds produce a crop after a season of growth through plenty of water and sunlight. Then you take the seeds from the crop and do it again.
Study and practice. Years of it.
That’s what it takes to live a life full of faith. That’s what it takes to follow Jesus well and trust his ways fully. Let me encourage you to receive this wisdom from Doctor Strange and The Ancient One!
Do you have any thoughts on this? Did you pick up on any other spiritual wisdom as you watched this movie? Join the discussion!