Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart… He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Psalm 37:4-6

Sea turtle hatchlings heading toward the ocean.

I’m going to go out on a limb here. I think something big is around the corner. Something big for Messenger Films. 

It’s been a while coming...

On December 26, 1983, late in the afternoon, I was walking through the woods near Fayetteville, North Carolina, praying for wisdom. I asked the Eternal One what he wanted me to do with my life. Instead of getting an answer, I got a question: “What do you want to do with your life?” I thought about it and said, “Well, Lord, I want to make feature films for your honor and glory.”

“Then go ahead and do it.”

“But Lord, feature films are expensive. I don’t have that kind of money.”

“I was Abraham’s friend,” I felt God say to my spirit. “I will be your friend, too.”

Five years later, in the midst of poverty and uncertainty, I made my first film in Mexico—Ropa Nueva para Felipe—on a budget of less than $25,000. This movie, made in Spanish, has been seen by millions and continues to be shown all around the world. It was a “breakthrough” film; however, it did not lead to a “breakthrough” career. On the contrary, my saga as a filmmaker has been largely one of struggle and adversity. I might compare the journey to the life of a sea turtle, freshly hatched from its egg on the beach, plodding across the sand to water’s edge.

On the hard road to the sea.

Everything can go wrong for the wee turtles on their seaward trek, and usually does. Birds, raccoons, crabs, dogs… all kinds of predators enjoy a moveable feast (apologies to Hemingway). Estimates are that one hatchling out of a thousand makes it into the water; other estimates put it closer to one in ten thousand. And even in the water, the little critters aren’t safe. The high attrition rate continues as new, aquatic predators emerge and the hatchlings begin what is called a “swimming frenzy” to put as much distance as possible between themselves and the shallow waters along the coastline.

So begin the sea turtles’ “lost years,” lasting for as long as a decade. During this time, their whereabouts will be unknown. Incredibly, to my thinking, it is in the deep water… the place impossibly beyond the reach of my toes… where they will find relative peace and safety.

The real struggle under way.

As I look back over my life, I’m frankly amazed I’ve made it this far. God has spared me from the worst of the predators, I guess. But it hasn’t been without cost. I’ve been tempted many times to hang up my spurs for good… to set my harp in the weeping willow tree and leave it there (Psalm 137:2). But something keeps pushing me on. It’s not just my instinct for survival; it’s the purpose for which I feel I’ve been made.

I just wish I could move faster!

For many years now, I’ve lived as a missionary… always more interested in the work than in personal gain. There have been those who have taken advantage of that disposition, but I don’t lose sleep over it. At least a raccoon didn’t eat me alive before I made it into the water! And I fully believe that this is true: “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints” (Hebrews 6:10).

Yes, God has seen my work and a righteous reward is coming my way, shining like the dawn, destined to blaze like the noonday sun. And truth be told, I have been incredibly fortunate and blessed to get this far—to escape predators by land and sea; to survive the “lost years” and make films to the glory of God.

On set in Mostar with Bosnian crewmembers.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that I have any great talent. It is very possible (even likely) that I have an exaggerated sense of my own worth and abilities. But I will tell you this: God has taken delight in me. I am his friend. Maybe I’m like one of those happy souls in the choir, face beaming with joy, singing his heart out with his fellow choir members, all the while a bit off key. But sing I must. I raise my flippers in praise and song—making the movies I can—pointing people to the love of God and the loving embrace of Jesus.

I’m determined to reach the water... the deep water.

And if, as I suspect, something big does happen over the next year or two, remember this… You heard it first in the March Messenger.

God bless you, each and every one.

On February 28 and March 1, Cris and crew were out in the wintry elements again in snow-blown Minnesota, filming more scenes for Let Me Have My Son. That's probably why he was thinking so much about sun-soaked beaches!
Let Me Have My Son continues its crawl across the sand, in part depending on charitable contributions from readers like you. Consider making a donation today to help us continue making films of beauty, stories of hope.
In which Cris gets deliberately doused in snow...
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Cristóbal Krusen is a filmmaker and author. He founded Messenger Films in 1988.

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