Only God Can Create a Fulfilling Life

Only God Can Create a Fulfilling Life

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans8 Minutes

Just the Facts

This 2017 movie, released by SONY and produced by Charleston-based Inspire You Entertainment, highlights how life exposes the foundations of our lives – and how Only God Can create a fulfilling life. When five College of Charleston alumni gather for a reunion, the baggage they’ve kept under control for decades begins popping out. Filmed primarily in Charleston and Greenville, SC, the settings ground the production and provide authenticity to the story line.

A cast of actors with diverse experience – from Grease to Baywatch to BJ and the Bear – tackles the troubles that plague the human experience. Unfortunately, the multiplicity of issues is rather ambitious and prevents well-developed characters. Even with that said, this is an inspiring and thought-provoking film. An original music score, “This Is Not My Home,” by Will Champlin (from NBC’s “The Voice”) anchors Only God Can to its message of hope.

A Little Entertainment

Friendship and faith ties the characters of Only God Can together. The brokenness of a philanthropist tired of faking happiness, an alcoholic, aging beauty queen, and a disillusioned poet stand in contrast to a divorcee and a young mother experiencing the vibrancy of faith in Jesus Christ. Even though the bonds forged in college hold their hearts together, the trajectories of their lives seem to be separating them. Those who have found life in Christ long to share the hope they’ve found but struggle to connect.

When tragedy strikes, the love shared through the years draws them together and opens hearts. As the five struggle to find ways through their own pain to reach lasting hope, the power of faith becomes clear. The individual journeys are rather made-for-movie stories, but the truth of the situations presented resonates with viewers.

A Little Deeper Digging

Life certainly doesn’t go according to plan, and Only God Can showcases many of the ways we can veer off-course. More importantly, it shows the power of faith in Jesus Christ to draw us back to fulfilling, purposeful lives.

Every one of the five college friends – Gracie, Sara, Glen, Coley, and Patrice – came to the reunion with baggage from wounds that had been festering for years. Pretending everything is okay only lasts for so long. The deceptive identities each woman had tried – perfect wife, altruist, writer, socialite – left them feeling empty and without direction. They set out to live lives of worth and meaning, but found they had been chasing empty idols. The prophet Isaiah explains it this way:

He feeds on ashes; A deceived heart has turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:20).

Such realizations await anyone who fails to find their identity in Christ. Genesis 1:27 gives us the only foundation for a life of worth:

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Our design is magnificent, and the specific plans God crafted for each of us are woven into our DNA (Ephesians 2:10). We are made to worship God, to treasure Him above all else. In the classic devotional My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers penned the truth, “Good is the enemy of best.” Most of the friends in Only God Can chose good life pursuits life at the expense of what was best: Jesus Christ. Mercifully, God allows pain to redirect! The heartaches and challenges of life expose identities based on idols as empty and useless. And that’s where godly friends who can point you to Jesus come in!

Friendship Evangelism

Many Christian movies (and sometimes we ourselves) make the mistake of simply pasting words over wounds. Only God Can did a great job showing how true friends accept one another with compassion instead of accusing with criticism. While the women had a few moments of frustration with one another that did explode, the friends truly valued each other.

Sara did an excellent job of helping her friends feel seen and heard. She became – and helped the other women – become a safe place for each other to express their emotions, grieve, and move forward. While the Gospel presentations in Only God Can offered were a little weak, the truth that the cornerstone of a solid life is worshipping Jesus came through loud and clear. Life in Christ is to be celebrated and shared – we were not rescued from our sins because of our goodness. All who wear the name of Jesus know salvation comes to us because God is good not because we deserve or earn it. And we also know that Only Can God create a fulfilling life. He alone can heal and give hope.

Scripture must never be hurriedly slapped on hurts. Each person is treasured by God, and He wants us to help people know how Jesus meets the needs of their heart – and their hurt. When you want to hope to someone, remember: our call is to love, not fix! Listen to your friend to understand before offering answers – and listen for the Holy Spirit (not your emotions) to nudge you to speak. But you can’t give others what you don’t have yourself. Build your life on the Word, find your identity in Christ, and then share the joy you’ve found. Here’s some truths that every life needs:

When a heart feels … let this truth heal.     

Rejected … God accepts you as you are (Romans 15:7)
Afraid … Christ can rescue you (Colossians 1:13)
Ashamed … You are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Unwanted … You are chosen and loved by God (Ephesians 1; 2:4)
Useless … God created you for good work (Ephesians 2:10)
Victimized … You have been redeemed (Romans 3:24)

Those are only a few of the life-transforming truths that you can use to build your life on – and share with others. Enjoy Only God Can with some friends and talk about how you can love each other better!