Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
(Review by Stacey Tuttle)
“I’m the biggest thing on earth” Manny, the wooly mammoth, boldly asserts at the beginning of Ice Age. He is soon proven wrong when he encounters a dinosaur. The dinosaur must, therefore, be the biggest thing on earth. So, when the dinosaur is afraid, Manny wonders, “What are YOU afraid of? You’re the biggest thing on earth!” Reader, I ask you, do you, like Manny, wrongly assume that you are the “biggest thing on earth?” Not physically, but metaphorically at least? Are you working to amass wealth and health that you may be able to beat out illness and financial struggle? Are you working to “baby proof nature” as Manny did, in order to protect your loved ones? It’s not that there isn’t wisdom in doing what you can to guard against destructive forces of various kinds for yourself and loved ones, but do you realize your limitations or are you the god responsible for protecting yourself and family? There is much wisdom in realizing your humanity, your limitations. You are not the biggest thing on earth.
There are two pitfalls to beware. One, you wrongly assume you are mightier than you think. You work in vain to “baby proof nature,” to protect yourself and loved ones from anything bad happening—it’s a chasing after the wind. It cannot be done. Not only will you fail to do what you have attempted, but in the attempt you will miss out on far more important things. Manny was so busy preparing a perfectly safe world for his unborn child, he was clueless as to the needs of his loved ones around him. It nearly cost him his friends and endangered his unborn child in the process. Alternatively, the other pitfall is that you realize you aren’t mighty and all, exhaust yourself trying to be mighty enough to guard against life’s curveballs, realize how futile the attempt is and despair altogether. Rather than doing as much as you are able, you say it’s meaningless to chase the wind so why try at all. You are then setting yourself and your loved ones up for unnecessary and avoidable hardship.
What is the balance between the two pitfalls? If thinking you are the biggest thing on earth leads to chasing the wind, and knowing you aren’t the biggest thing on earth leads to despairing, where does that leave you? It leaves you in desperate need to befriend what IS the biggest thing on earth. If you could be best friends with the biggest, most powerful thing in the universe, then you could do what you were able without despairing at your limitations, knowing something bigger than you and bigger than your problems had your back. Manny’s best efforts were wasted. For Manny, the help he (and his loved ones) needed came from a crazy one-eyed creature named Buck. While small in stature, Buck was mighty in spirit and had a knowledge of the land of dinosaurs Manny lacked. Manny also had to humble himself to receive help from his friends – the tasks he faced were too big to manage alone.
For humans, the solution is similar. The Bible says, “God has highly exalted him [Jesus] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). Everything will bow before Jesus, all things on earth, all things in heaven…this means that Jesus (because of the glory given him by God the Father) is the greatest thing—the biggest thing there is. Do you know him? Can you rest at night knowing you have done all you can to protect and provide, and at the same time knowing that the biggest, most powerful thing of all, the God of the universe, loves you and will do what is best for you? And are you humble enough to work together with your fellow man, especially your fellow Christian man? God ordained the brotherhood of believers to work together, knowing that man would need help, support and teamwork to manage the tasks and trials he would face.
Romans 8:31-39 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Questions to discuss:
- What things are you afraid of? Why are you afraid of those things?
- What do you think about the God of the Bible – the God the Bible says either made or allows all things – even the things you are afraid of? Do you believe he exists? Do you believe he is, as the Bible says, bigger and more powerful than anything in this universe?
- Fear comes from either not believing God is all powerful – more powerful than the thing feared, OR not believing fully in God’s love and goodness It’s a good thing to question whether it’s God’s power you don’t trust or his love for you.