Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
When Mrs. Suzanne Waters (Karen Abercrombie) felt the urge to help 16-year-old car thief Eli (Joey Ibanez), she couldn’t pinpoint exactly why she wanted to help. She just felt called to help the young man.
While it is normal for people to want to help others, this wasn’t your typical neighbor helping out another neighbor scenario. Just hours earlier, Eli had attempted to steal the car of Jessica Waters (Jazelle Foster), Suzanne’s daughter-in-law. Eli, however, didn’t expect to find a very pregnant Jessica inside the car.
Instead of pulling Jessica out of the car and driving away, Eli forced her to move over and drove her to the emergency room. Eli, who already had a criminal record, was quickly recognized at the hospital and chased by a cop into the parking lot where he was apprehended and arrested.
Suzanne’s decision, unwise or not, is the foundation and backbone of the 2016 film, God’s Compass, starring Abercrombie, Ibanez, Foster, and T.C. Stallings as Suzanne’s son and Jessica’s husband, David.
Unsure about her decision to help Eli for his unintentional act of heroism, Suzanne seeks the counsel of others, including Pastor Stevens. In talking with Suzanne, Pastor Stevens reminds her of something her late husband, Isaac, once told him: “God doesn’t choose us because we’re confident in our preparation to go and do what He’s called us to do. He chooses us because He knows what we’re capable of.”
Isaac then handed Pastor Stevens a compass and told him, “Follow God’s north for your life’s calling.”
It is this reminder to follow whatever direction God points you in that makes Suzanne decide to go out of her way to help Eli. Although she is committed to the path God is leading her down, she still has doubts about whether or not what she’s doing is wise. Her misgivings lead her to speculate on her predicament, “Either I’m completely out of control or I’m going to learn the lesson of a lifetime.”
The Complicated Eli
Eli began lifting cars after becoming a victim of unfortunate circumstances. Although it is unclear what happened to his parents, they are no longer in the picture and he is left to fend for himself and his little sister, Naomi.
As Jessica tells Eli on the way to the hospital, he’s not the typical car thief. How many carjackers would drive the person they’re stealing the car from to the emergency room before taking the car?
During the drive, Eli entertains her with random facts (e.g., if a woman’s heart is transplanted into a man, the diameter of the arteries will increase because men naturally have larger arteries; there are 60,000 miles of blood vessels and every red blood cell goes completely around the body in 60 seconds; an average person produces 25,000 quarts of spit in a lifetime, enough to fill two pools) in order to take her mind off of the impending pregnancy.
When Suzanne bails him out of a juvenile detention center for grand theft and opens her home to Eli, there is no telling what may happen. According to one social worker, he’s been in and out of foster care since he was ten and lasted no longer than three months in any home. Simply put, Eli’s a “runner.”
The one person not pleased that Suzanne is helping Eli out is her son. David, a career-focused ER doctor, sees Eli as a criminal and fears for his mom’s safety. Jessica is more forgiving and even eager to meet Eli in her hospital room after their son is born.
Unfortunately, David and Jessica’s son is born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect that affects blood flow and is a primary cause of blue baby syndrome. The hospital staff is not sure if the newborn will survive, as the condition can be fatal, but he is scheduled for a dye test to determine next steps.
Abercrombie, Ibanez, Foster, and Stallings all give strong performances, each delivering an authenticity to the film that will pull at your heartstrings. Although unconditional love and unflinching forgiveness are themes that run throughout God’s Compass, Suzanne sums up the film’s overarching message best when she shows Eli his new room and presents him with a compass:
“God has a north for your life, but you have to put your trust in Jesus. This compass will remind you of that. God wants to help you to get where you’re going.”
To find out what happens to Eli, Naomi, Suzanne, Jessica, and David, tune in to Inspiration TV on Saturday, August 22 at 9 p.m. ET and Sunday, August 23 at 5:30 p.m. ET to watch God’s Compass.
John Farrell is a Digital Content Writer / Editor of Inspiration.org
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