Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Wild Hogs

God will always find you.

In the movie Wild Hogs, four middle aged men (John Travolta, Tim Allen, William H. Macy, and Martin Lawrence) are in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Each of them is wondering where their younger selves have gone. They've gotten slower, more cautious, more timid, and much more frustrated with the way their lives have taken them.

So they plan to escape their suburban existance for a week on their motorcycles and take a road trip cross country. They reunite their old biker gang, the "Wild Hogs," and head west.

But while they can escape the daily grind, in a small highway town called Madrid, New Mexico, they find they cannot escape their destiny. Because of a run-in with an aggressive biker gang near the town, they must confront this nasty group of angry bikers or else this quiet town will be terrorized and destroyed.

And even though these four men aren't dangerous and strong-armed by nature, they find within themselves the call to stand up for what is right, and defend the peaceful townspeople.

This movie reminded me of the Old Testament prophet Jonah. In this recognizable tale, God calls the middle aged Jonah to action, but he tries to escape the Lord's request. He sails out west into the open sea, but God still finds Jonah and brings him back (through the help of a large fish). God wanted Jonah to preach to the ancient culture of the Ninevites for some special reason; perhaps Jonah was a skilled preacher or teacher, but whatever the cause, God saw in Jonah what he didn't see in himself. And because Jonah finally stood up for the Lord, a city was saved.

When God needs us, he will find us. And when he finds us, he calls us for a reason. And when we answer that call, great things can happen.

Like Jonah, God sees something deep inside ourselves that even we don't often recognize or acknowledge. God knows we are called to something greater, like the four suburban "Wild Hogs" were called to be brave and compassionate for the defenseless. God knew they had something deeper inside themselves: a strength that no one else could see.

And in the far west town of Madrid, they were able to prove God right.

The William H. Macy character especially embodied this spirit. He wasn't the most suave or the strongest of the group, but because he felt called to protect the townspeople (and in a special way, the local diner owner and his newfound love interest, played by Marisa Tomei), he stepped up to the plate and stood up against the rival biker gang.

So what is it that God is calling you and me to do?

Yes, life can be hard, and we are tempted to escape the pressures of work, home, and relationships and run away like the "Wild Hogs" did. But we cannot escape God, because he will always find us.

And when he finds us, what is it that you and I are called to do? Who are we called to protect? And where and when are you and I called to stand for justice? Wild Hogs teaches us that there is no better time to understand this message than right now.

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