I just posted a review/discussion of Labor Day here, at Shepherd Project Ministries. The entire review is there, along with questions for discussion, etc. I should probably post the whole thing here, but I particularly wanted to highlight this one scene, and to expand a little. (I gave more of the background in the full review, in case you don’t know what the movie is about.)
It’s one of my favorites scenes (primarily because of its’ spiritual application) and it happened early on. Henry pointed out that it’s illegal to hide a fugitive. Hank didn’t want Adele or Henry to suffer any because of him , so in order to protect them, he told Adele that he needed to tie her up. It’s a little scary. This strange man, an escaped con who is in prison for murder, got ropes and bound her to the chair. And she let him. He was so gentle and tender as he did it. He didn’t want to, it was clear, but it was the only way to protect them. It’s beautiful. He tied her up, (he didn’t have to tie up Henry, Henry could say he was forced to act to protect his mom), and then he took care of her every need, feeding her dinner as if she was a child.
It was a beautiful scene. What he did would normally seem cruel, but it was because he cared. It was to protect her and Henry. How many times has God had to do the same thing to us? How many times has He done or permitted something which seemed cruel, but He did it for our protection, as gentle as possible, and then cared for our every need in the meanwhile? I have heard countless people tell me that they were chasing hard after sports when an injury stopped them in their tracks. It seemed cruel at the time, painful, disappointing, career ending/altering. But then they almost always tell me, “but now I see that it was a good thing…” God provided for them in that time in tender, special ways, and in the end they found what a blessing it was that they were protected from heading down that path. What a blessing it was their course was altered, their future changed. It’s something we often resent as it’s happening, but hindsight being what it is, we can see it was a good thing. That’s why this scene in the movie is so powerful, it so clearly illustrates this truth. Maybe it will even encourage you when you find yourself restricted and tied down in some way, to trust that God is protecting you and providing for you, even in your unwanted limitation.
I got to share this scene with the girls in the jail this morning in our Bible study time. They have to face this reality daily. They are incredibly restricted, and yet, they are finding freedom. This one very timid girl (although that’s changing) came again today. Let’s call her “Meg”. I think it was her third time, maybe her fourth? The first time she came she sat there and tried to hold back tears and staunchly refused to share. She wasn’t being ugly about it, she just “wasn’t sure that she believed in any of this” and was simply “going to listen and take it all in.” She was raised Jewish, maybe? I don’t remember for sure, but she had some faith tradition in her background, some ritual, but didn’t know what she thought about Jesus and had never known any sort of relationship with God.
Her face has radically transformed over these few weeks. At first her face was completely covered with fear and pain. Today I listened as she openly shared and contributed to the discussions. She said that she and “Amy” from my last post are doing Bible studies together every morning now. I asked her about the change I see in her and she shared that she (a former agoraphobic) had finally found peace (and I’ll say there’s joy in her expression that wasn’t there before, too). She wasn’t sure how or when it happened, but JESUS, she said. Jesus – she finally believed in Him. And she just can’t stop smiling these days.
It took being tied up in jail for her to find him, to discover that He loved her. And it’s in jail that she’s being set free. It’s that lovely scene from Labor Day – played out in her life.