Review Corner


Miracles from Heaven

Synopsis: Anna Beam (Kylie Rogers) lives with a rare, incurable disorder that leaves her unable to digest food. Despite the dire diagnosis, devoted mom Christy (Jennifer Garner) relentlessly searches for a way to save her beloved daughter. Everything changes in an instant when Anna tells an amazing story of a visit to heaven after surviving a headlong tumble into a tree. Her family and doctors become even more baffled when the young girl begins to show signs of recovering from her fatal condition.

CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!

Review

This movie is based on the book by Christy Beam which follows the story of a young girl who is suffering from a rare digestive disorder. It is a story about faith and miracles, a roller coaster ride of emotions. It tugs on the heart strings in all of the right places. The acting is stellar in this, Jennifer Garner does a fantastic job as Christy Beam. The audience feels her frustration as we see her fighting with doctors over the treatment that her daughter so desperately needs. Her faith falters when the tragedy hits and we see her free-fall into hopelessness, along with her daughter.

My biggest issue with this movie is not the acting or the story or even the belief in miracles. It is the lack of Jesus that bothers me. I had emotional experience but was left with a spiritual hole at the end. They mention God several times in a benign way but only say the name of Jesus once, basically skimming over it in one quick hospital scene. Why is that an issue? Christians and non-Christians use the term "god" all of the time. The word means many things to many people. But when you mention the name of Jesus and equate Him with the term God, only then will people begin to cry foul. I feel that they skirted that issue.

At one point, Christy is confronted by some members of their congregation and told that it may be because of someone's sin in the family that is preventing Anna from being healed. I have actually heard first hand people do this to other people. This is an unfortunate reality within the church body. The same thing happened to Job when his friends stopped by to give him "comfort" during his time of trial. After this incident Christy is basically done with church. Later, she visits with the pastor and asks him "why would a loving God let Anna suffer the way that she has?" This is not an unfair question for anyone to ask. The only the pastor can come up with is "I'm sorry I don't have an answer for that but just because she is suffering does not mean that there isn't a loving God." He goes on to say that being close to God feels much better than being away from God. To me, this answer leaves much to be desired. When people come to Christian leaders they need to have more suffecient answers. These are hard questions that must be answered biblically. This may have been what happened in the true story of the Beams but it would have been a great opportunity to show the love of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit in this scene. A scene bathed in prayer, petitioning God through Jesus Christ the Son, surrounded by the comforting Spirit for Anna and her family as they go through this trial. Just knowing that Jesus remembers and cares for us, knowing that He will never leave us during times of trouble can keep that foundation of faith under our feet.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My command­ments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
John 14:15-26 (NASB)

The promises Jesus made in that brief passage are staggering. He says, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." That implies the promises that follow apply to all who love Jesus Christ. Thus they apply to all believers in Christ, whose love for Christ is characterized by their obedience.

I liked the movie but I wish they had given Jesus top billing because He provided the miracles for Anna.