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NOVEMBER REFLECTION

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need, for my power works best in weakness.”
II Corinthians 12:8-9

Apostle Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne (17th century).

I’ve been praying for grace of late—God’s grace. A good prayer, I’m sure you’ll agree, but there’s a challenging part to it, too. According to the Bible, God’s grace is most applicable when we are at our lowest ebb, when we are weak. And who wants to be weak?
 
Hebrews chapter 11 is sometimes called the “Roll Call of Faith” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.” In it you’ll see highlight reels for Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob et al. And not to take anything away from them, but most of these heroes of the faith have a flip side to consider.
 
Noah, for example, was a tippler. Abraham a coward, Sarah a hater. Jacob had a limp, Moses a stutter. David had lust problems and Samson couldn’t keep a secret. We could go on. Peter was a waffler, Thomas a doubter, and Paul had a mean streak. And this is just skimming off the top. The point is that the Bible is replete with characters all too human—people like you and me who, for all their failings, did exploits for God.
 
Without question, the MVP of all time was and is Jesus. Though tempted in every way, he “committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). He had power to raise the dead, but when his own number was called, he gave up the ghost on a wooden cross, executed like a common criminal. Only that was not the end of the story—it was the beginning! Crushed in weakness, Jesus rose on the third day, and since then, the Good News has only gotten better: “For though we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you” (2 Corinthians 13:4).

Cris in Harvard Square on a surprise re-visit in 2003!

Growing up, I had the benefit of an excellent private school education. I entered Harvard University as a sophomore, having skipped my freshman year thanks to AP credits in English, History and Spanish. Set up for life, right? Yet, less than two years after entering Harvard, I had dropped out of college and was living below the poverty line in Brooklyn, New York, trying to make a living selling encyclopedias door-to-door.
 
Making matters worse, I lived in ignorance of God’s grace. I had no understanding that God’s power could be displayed through weakness.
 
When I gave my life to Christ at the age of twenty-nine, I called myself a writer, but was actually unemployed. I had dreams of becoming a filmmaker but ended up becoming a missionary. When I started Messenger Films, I hoped to make movies that would foment spiritual revival worldwide. Instead, I worked as an electrician’s helper and delivered pizzas on Staten Island. I was less than a weak competitor. I wasn’t even near the stadium.
 
I went to Mexico in 1988 to make my first film in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Mexico City on a shoestring budget. By the time Ropa Nueva para Felipe was finished, I had four children and no job. I had a movie “in the can”, yes, but no money to develop the film footage! 
 
Fortunes seemed to take a turn when I was hired by CBN in Virginia Beach in 1991. I joined their international department as a Spanish/English television producer. I did a lot of good work at CBN, but feeling the persistent call to be a filmmaker, I felt I needed to move on. Beset by weakness, seemingly at every turn, I somehow managed to produce films seen by millions around the world.
 
Why do I say “weakness”? Because on the face of it, there is no logical explanation for how my films got made. There is no business model I can share with aspiring filmmakers on how to follow suit. My work, it seems, has often been a fool’s errand, an impossible task that somehow becomes a reality. A few years ago, I coined a phrase: “The task is impossible. Let’s get started.” If I had lived in another day and time, I might have served as a model for Picasso’s Don Quixote.

Don Quixote, a sketch by Pablo Picasso (1955).

Not that I have been content with arrangements. To the contrary, I have prayed many times for God to let me be like the big boys in Hollywood. “They have all the money they need,” I’ve reminded the Big Man. “Open the financial hose, Lord, and turn me loose. Let’s rock and roll.”
 
And, of course, you already know the response: “My grace is sufficient for you.” Which is why “I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
 
Ah, dear friends, are things taking longer than you’d like? Do you feel you’re in over your head? Have a little talk with Jesus. He “knows our frame; he remembers we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). He has no shortage of resources to turn your situation around. Indeed, “the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). But remember this: his strength is made perfect in our weakness.
 
Loving you through him,
 
I remain,

Cris and the Messenger Films team face the ongoing challenges of producing Let Me Have My Son, a feature film inspired by the true story of Cris and his son, Daniel. Production has begun, but completion is not yet a fait accompliClick Here to learn more about partnering with us to make this film of beauty telling a story of boundless hope.
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Cristóbal Krusen is a filmmaker and author. He founded Messenger Films in 1988.
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