This is a movie that always rattles my faith in God. But when you watch it, you just can’t look away.
‘Taken’, starring Liam Neeson, tells the story of an ex-spy (Neeson) whose daughter, Kim, has been kidnapped by a European sex trafficking ring.
It’s a fast-paced, well-crafted, gritty story, and it shows all too clearly that the illegal sex trade is not just a third world problem.
In the movie, Neeson basically shoots his way through the continent to rescue Kim. Along the way, he witnesses some of the brothels where they take the kidnapped girls. Suffice to say, it’s horrific.
Thankfully Neeson rescues his daughter in the nick of time. But as you watch, you see so many girls who don’t get rescued. And while the story is fiction, the issue is not.
The movie is a strong reminder that not everyone’s life is as protected as mine. And it makes me question God.
How can the God who says ‘trust Me’ when I stress about little things like work, also be the God who watches over those girls?
What does He say to them? Does He love them?
At the moment I’m writing the end of my second novel, Hating Jeremy Walters. Two of my characters are also struggling with the question of God’s love, but in very different ways. One lives as through she has to earn it. One believes she can never earn it. Both attitudes are wrong. And the lesson that I’m teaching my characters, I often must repeat to myself.
At the end of the day, we have to view everything through the lens of the cross. (I’m pretty sure I stole that line from Experiencing God, so full kudos to Henry Blackaby).
The truth is, God loved us enough to watch His Son die for our sakes. It seems impossible to imagine suffering worse than what those trafficked girls endure, or what Syria and Iraq are enduring right now. But God Himself, through Jesus, experienced worse. It wasn’t just in the physical pain of the cross, but in being separated from God the Father and taking the full weight of our sin.
I struggle to understand how God can witness such suffering, like what we see on the news or in movies like ‘Taken’. I wish He’d just fix it.
But then I remember, it’s mankind doing those things, not Him. And while He could stop it, He must have reasons for waiting.
It’s tempting to doubt whether God loves people, if he allows such terrible things to happen for them. But God endured even worse things for those same people.
This is a case where I don’t understand, but I do know. I don’t understand how He can bear to watch, but I know that God loves us all. I know He cries alongside us. I know His motives are perfect and pure. He proved it 2000 years ago.
I’m just going to have to trust that.