Obeying the Voice

Many of us can easily name “Christmas films,” but “Advent films” are not as obvious at first. Advent films release throughout the year instead of the month of December. One such movie that embodies the hope, peace, joy, love, and mystery of the Advent season is the subject of this week’s musing, written by my dad, Bill Duckworth.

Almost 30 years ago, a movie was released with little fanfare yet became a classic.  Field of Dreams’ story of Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, touched hearts, brought hope, and illustrated the importance of listening and taking risks.

Ray heard the voice, “If you build it he will come” and started construction on a major league baseball field in the middle of his corn farm after he was able to “see it” in his soul.  Then he sat back and waited for his father’s baseball hero to show up, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.  However, Jackson had died almost 40 years earlier.  It seemed crazy to believe but in the depths of his heart Ray knew to do one thing:  Obey the Voice.  So he did.  But then he waited and waited as discouragement crouched at home plate.

What can be easily ignored in this story are the key challenges. Within the 1 hour and 46 minute film, the word wait is used 15 times; pain 15 times; dream 15 times; but “see” 30 times.  Why?  Because, seeing is the hardest part.  To see our dreams become reality, there will always be waiting and pain.  It took 9 months before Shoeless Joe stood on the field, but even then, only a few people could actually see him.  Those who didn’t believe thought Ray had lost his mind because Joe was invisible to them.

Ray had to endure doubts, ridicule of peers, rejection, and self-condemnation.  It reminds me of an obscure carpenter named Joseph who had a dream, believed an angel’s words that his fiancé was with child by the Holy Spirit, took her as his wife, traveled 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and watched God’s son enter our world among the kingdom’s special farm animals.  It was risky.  It was difficult.  But, it was his obedience to the voice that changed the world.

As a believer in Jesus, I must listen for His voice daily.  It comes through the written word, the spoken word, the taught word, and the courage to obey.  God is speaking to all of us to take risks.  Be kind to those who hate us. Be compassionate to those who judge us.  Be forgiving to those who try to ruin our lives.  Our dreams can become reality as God molds and shapes us through life’s difficult times knowing He is with us until the end of all.

As for Ray, his special dream was for reconciliation with his father, John.  Ray left home as a rebellious 17-year old and his father died 5 years later before Ray could redeem his wrong.  For the next 14 years he dreamed and hoped that his pain could one day be resolved.  And it was.  So, maybe the last 6 minutes and 41 seconds of a 1980’s movie will inspire all of us to live the dream. 

One of His Dreamers,

Bill Duckworth