Faith in Film — Miracles From Heaven
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." — Hebrews 11:1
Tonight we tackle a Christian movie, "Miracles From Heaven," which is also the newest film on the list. It was released last Spring, during a rich time for Christian films in wide release at the cinema. Christian films have historically been very great at telling us about faith, but have sometimes struggled showing it. That’s what’s led to some criticism of Christian films as stand alone films, since film is such a visual medium. At the outset of this film, we get a pretty clear set up of what’s to come. The minister offers a sermon about faith, and how we have to maintain faith in hard times. That is our set up to remember that we’re about to get an object lesson, or rather our main family is about to get that lesson.
But that's not where "Miracles From Heaven" stays. It does tell us about faith, but it also does a great job of showing what faith means, and the struggle that often accompanies it. And we see a variety of different responses. In Christy, we see someone who is frustrated and struggles. She doesn't feel like God hears her, and she even cries out to God.
Her husband, Kevin, remains much more positive. He believes they are in God's hands. He recognizes their lack of control, and he gives everything over to God. Sometimes, that's even a frustration to his wife.
But all of it feels real, and all of it serves a purpose. I love the challenge here. It's a Christian film that allows space for doubt and lament, but also points us back to faith. And it does tie things up in a beautiful way at the end.
But it's not perfect. That's another thing that Christian films often do — they fall into the trap of having everything work out perfectly for those who have faith. While Anna Beam is healed, others in her sphere aren't. But that is still a chance to lean into faith and belief. To me, that's the most beautiful aspect of the film — it feels real and it digs into your emotional core.
I am probably one of the biggest critics of Christian films for a lot of the reasons I mentioned. I went into "Miracles From Heaven" skeptical, but I came out deeply moved. I hope you all have been, too.
1. Did this movie work for you? Why or why not?
2. The Beam family faces a severe trial, but their call is to remain faithful. For some that is easier than others. Have you ever had a time in your life when you faced a trial that tested your ability to remain faithful? How did you respond?
3. Christy Beam struggles at one point after members of her church question her faithfulness. It leads her to reject her church for a time. In your experience, how can those who claim to represent Christ sometimes be a stumbling block for believers and unbelievers during trying times?4. Anna’s faith during a difficult time is a witness to others in the hospital. We see the long-lasting effect of that at the end. How is it beneficial to others when we remain faithful in trying circumstances.