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R&V At the Movies: Virginia’s Calling

When hurricanes, floods, and other dramatic weather catastrophes happen somewhere else, it’s easy to log them in the unfortunate events category, offer up a prayer, and move on. What can you do about it? But when the floodwaters rise in your own backyard, literally, the situation calls for a lot more. The very real floodwaters are rising, threatening your home and everything you love. Now what?

Virginia’s Calling: What to Expect

Virginia’s Calling is the story of an evangelical Christian mom whose life felt blessed by God. Virginia homeschooled her children in a quiet community in Virginia Beach where she lived with her husband. Virginia never thought that the effects of a changing climate could impact her own life, until a flood ravaged her home and carried away so much of what she loved. The weeks and months after her home flooded, Virginia wrestled with her faith in a God that she believed had promised to protect her and save her, and yet despite her prayers, her home had still flooded. Who is this God? What does he really call us to as believers?

Produced by Barry Lyons and Linda Nieman, the 30-minute documentary captures Virginia’s story, in her own words, as her faith in God is challenged by her circumstances. Virginia shares  how God’s love became even more evident in her life and how his calling on her life changed as a result of the tragic flooding of her home.

Watch the full-length film here.

Finding the Love: Faithifying Your Viewing

Virginia’s story reminds me of so many stories in Scripture, when God has redeemed the circumstances of our lives to bring about good for the community. Virginia quotes Romans 8:28 in the documentary, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

It’s hard to find the good when water is working its way under the doorframes of our homes, when water is seeping in between the insulation and drywall, when water is crawling up the first-floor stairs and soaking through our family’s photo albums and scrapbooks. In the midst of crisis and tragedy, it is hard to find the good.

Virginia shares her very real pain and depression in the midst of her tragedy. She cried out, like the psalmist did in Psalm 69:

Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths,
where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
looking for my God.

Within that dark place, God seemed far away. And yet an unlikely messenger answered that prayer and helped Virginia, in the midst of her darkness, see God.

Sometimes it takes an unlikely messenger to pull the veil of grief away from our faces and help us to see the light again. We can be that unlikely messenger for others, if we’re listening to the Spirit. We can offer a word of encouragement, be a voice of wisdom and direction, and guide those who “have come into the deep waters” to help.

Grief is slow, and God is with us in it. God is with us, in our floods and in our parched earth.

Once Virginia remembers the words of Paul in Romans 8:28, her prayer for protection becomes a prayer for direction. How can she, a follower of Christ, love her neighbors through the flood? How can she step into action and become the very hands and feet of Jesus to uncover why her community flooded? What can be done so that, like Noah and God’s rainbow, they can make sure this flooding never happens again?

What a gift to be given, to have your suffering produce perseverance, your perseverance produce character, and your character produce hope. And hope does not disappoint us (Romans 5:3-5 NIV). The Holy Spirit’s love moves through us and empowers us to advance out of our state of suffering into a place of love in action.

Virginia’s story shows us just how much of a difference one obedient daughter of the Lord can make in her community and just how powerfully God can move to turn all things for good for those who love him and are called to his purposes. We are all called to his purposes. May we love the Lord and listen to where he is calling us to make a difference for the good of all, in our own communities.

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