“All these people were still living by faith when they die. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”
Theologians have referred to Hebrews chapter 11 as the “roll call of faith”—a who’s who of Bible heroes with a “never say die” attitude, even though they did not enjoy in their lifetime the things God had promised. Some suffered abuse and insults for their faith, others were flogged or unjustly imprisoned. Some, like the prophet Zechariah, were stoned for speaking the truth, while others were sawn in two (like Isaiah). As Hebrews 11:38 puts it, “The world was not good enough for them! They wandered like refugees in the deserts and hills, living in caves and holes in the ground.”
And though they may have felt sorry for themselves sometimes, like Elijah hyperventilating under the broom tree as he contemplated his demise at the hands of Jezebel, they all made the good confession of faith. They pleased God (Hebrews 11:6).
Not unlike a curious child, I’ve pulled the switch on faith more than a few times to see what would happen. I think I’ve written before about my Dutch forebears on my father’s side. What are the Dutch known for besides windmills and wooden shoes and tulips and being tall? My answer is they are known for their stubbornness. My mom called my dad “stubborn” and my dad’s mother called her husband (my grandfather) a stubborn Dutchman.
Sometimes, that stubbornness can be a good thing, as in stubborn faith.
A year ago, this month, I was looking to raise $150,000 to cover the remaining cost of production on Let Me Have My Son. Eight months later, I was looking for another $125,000 to cover the costs of post-production. Can I tell you something? I did not know where the money was going to come from in either case. I only knew that I was determined (stubborn) and wasn’t taking no for an answer.
It was also about a year ago that I was having breakfast with a friend who asked me how the film was going. Remember, at the time I did not have the money to finish production much less post-production. I looked my friend in the eye and said: “I won’t be taken alive.”
In my imagination, I fancied myself a Clint Eastwood type riding into the wilderness with the bad guys in pursuit. They wanted me to behave; to conform; to play nice and keep my mouth shut. To not dream impossible dreams. No, no, no. A thousand times no. I am going to walk by faith. I am going to wager it all on God’s faithfulness. He rewards those who diligently seek him!
My friend, a retired corporate executive, looked at me, visibly stirred. “You’re a hero,” he said.
I spoke no further. Hero or not, we both knew I would never surrender my dream. I would die—if it came to that—with my boots on and guns blazing.
For each of these monthly newsletters, I ask God to guide me with the message I should share. I trust he is guiding me now as I write these words to you: “Don’t give up. Do your best to hear from God and step out by faith. What do you have to lose? Your life? Your fortune? Your reputation? What do those things count in the light of eternity?”
And remember this: God might just grant you your impossible dream! Look what he’s done for me! The roll call of faith does not end with the Old Testament characters of Hebrews 11; it continues to the present day. Who ever thought the making of Let Me Have My Son would become a reality? I can imagine some of the kvetching God must have been subjected to these last three years: “We are weary of these appeals from Cristóbal Krusen, O Lord. Can you please send him off quietly into the night? Enough already!!” I sometimes think the main thing I succeeded in doing during the “waiting time” was showing up for work each day, stubbornly holding on to the promises in spite of appearances. And now, my son Daniel’s story will be told for generations to come. More importantly, the story of God’s Son will be told through the telling of Daniel’s story!
How privileged we are that God would grant us our deepest desires in this lifetime. I sometimes think he could just as easily have said to me, “Not now, Cris. I appreciate you having faith and believing in me. But I’m not going to give you this now. Someone else will make this film. You are going to die in faith not receiving the promise but knowing (being convinced) that it will materialize one day.” Instead, by his grace, he has “brought me into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19). He has given me “the desires of my heart” (Psalm 37:4).
Be bold, my friend. Be a hero! Go Dutch! Bring pleasure to the God of the universe through the exercise of your faith, small though it may be.
¡Un cálido abrazo!