In the Disney magic-infused Onward, two brothers find themselves setting out on a journey of mythical proportions to resurrect their father for a single day. Ian has magical gifts but can’t quite fathom ever mastering them, while his older brother is a true believer who yearns to be able to perform feats of courage and magic and is sadly inadequate at doing so. Together, they set out to figure out how to complete their quest, bickering, joking, struggling, and teaming up along the way. (Onward is currently available digitally and coming soon to Disney+ – free advertisement!)
My brain transported me back to another mystical moment as I watched: the moment when YHWH God appears before Moses in Exodus 3 as a burning bush. He tells Moses to go from that place and stand before Pharaoh (who Moses is related to by adoption) and demand that the Israelite people be freed from slavery so that they can worship God and rid themselves of oppression. Moses is standing before a burning bush (which isn’t consumed but keeps burning), spoken to by said bush, and encouraged to do something heroic … and he panics.
You can almost hear his voice crack, his teeth chatter, his knees knock against each other as he asks, “Who am I that anyone should listen to me?” YHWH’s answer is fantastic: “I’ll be with you.” It’s not about Moses – it’s about what God is going to do, how God is going to show up THROUGH Moses.
For the next chapter and a half, Moses argues that he can’t be the one. He literally says, “Please send someone else.” God finally says that Moses’ brother Aaron can go, too, that Aaron has the gifts that Moses lacks – or at least complements that parts of Moses that need supported and strengthened. One had the courage and strength; one had the skills and the heart. Neither one could be the other, but together, they could be …awesome.
As the father to two boys, I want that for them. I want them to be boldly confident yet needing of each other. I want them to encourage each other in the face of big picture challenges, hardships, tribulations, whatever – and in celebrations, victories, and surprising moments of overcoming. I know they’ll need each other, as brothers, and I tell them that all the time!
The truth is that we all need people like that. People who see us for who we are, love us anyway, and challenge us to be better. In moments like these crazy days we live in, we need them even more. Who are your “brothers”, your “sisters”, your people of faith who grow your faith and push you to epic journeys of courage and grace?
Be that person to someone else today. We need each other.