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The Terminated

In 1984, Hollywood released a film that became an immediate cult sensation around the world. Starring a bulky Austrian whose gravelly baritone would become the butt of many parodies, The Terminator set the gold standard for post-apocalyptic story-telling and action-adventure. And many of its notorious one-liners are now part of the American lexicon. I mean, who hasn't said, "I'll be back," at least once this year?

I was reminded of The Terminator the other night as I walked up to my house. In our front yard, the kids have been playing with their toy trucks in a muddy hole left behind by an uprooted tree. One of the battery operated trucks was apparently left on, and in the pitch black of the night, its left-rear red light was silently shining. It caught my eye and reminded me of that eery scene at the end of The Terminator where Sarah Connor crushes "the machine" in an industrial press. As the Terminator "dies," the red light in his eye fades away ever-so-slowly until it is completely extinguished, thus providing a perfect denouement.

A fading red light and a crushing press...does life ever feel this way to you? Do you ever feel like you're fading away and/or the weight of the world is pressing down on you? Do you ever feel like you're being terminated? I know I do. In fact, I received some rather depressing news this past week related to my service in the Army. For a couple of days, it seemed as if all of my hard work and sacrifice were for nothing. I felt abandoned, worthless, and, yes, crushed. Nothing anyone said made me feel better, validated, or encouraged.

But the sting of disappointment and failure didn't last for long. As I recalled the many blessings in my life--particularly family, friends, and faith--I concluded that my unfortunate news was nothing more than a bump in the proverbial road. In a fallen world, we should expect some things to fall from time to time. The key to life and faith, however, is not to be consumed by the falls. We must always get back up and press on. Through the power of God's Spirit, we are created to be resilient warriors. And, so, although I was tempted to give up, engage in negative self-talk, and enter into a state of self-pity, I have instead resolved to move forward boldly and confidently. God does not wish for me to become The Terminated. His desire is that I experience victory! Consequently, I am looking life in the eye and proclaiming, "I'll be back!"

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