An “Act of God”: He Apparently Hates Movie Screens

Two days ago my beautiful wife and I were able to pawn the boys off on my mother in order to have one of our rare movie date nights. We rode out to Pier Park on the beach to watch “Men In Black 3” at the Grand. After a delightful viewing experience for the first 30 minutes the screen suddenly went blank in the theater as the volume continued to run. After inquiring about the problem I learned that the screens in all sixteen theaters had been blacked out. We sat a few more minutes in the theater and listened to the plot as the sound rambled on. We decided to leave and approached the box office for a refund.

They claimed  they could give us replacement tickets but not a full money refund.

Why?

“We can’t give a refund because the reason for the blackout was an act of God,” said the kind young lady who was the ticket attendant.

I realize she was probably told by her superiors to respond like this when something like this happens (presumably lightning). I realize there is an “Act of God” clause in insurance companies that intimates disastrous events outside of human control (earthquakes, flash floods, etc.).

But I find it curious how God’s name usually only gets evoked when bad stuff happens to us.

God is the whipping boy when tragedy strikes, but not one thought of gratitude is thrown His way for the countless days, months and years of tragedy withheld from our lives. Why isn’t a beautiful sunset, a breathtaking mountain range, or a stunning sandy white beach deemed an “act of God.” Why isn’t such an amazing mystery as a successful child-birth and delivery called an “act of God” by OBGYN’s and Insurance claims?

Words mean something.

And the words and phrases our culture uses betrays something about it.

And it is strange when we use such words to quickly assign blame to Him for infrequent disastrous events and yet never praise for the consistently peaceful merciful everyday events of life. His Providential kindness is apparent everyday I get to wake up in the morning, but I can only offer anger when He takes back one of the many gifts He has loaned me for a short time? No. Both acts, those that seem like judgment and those that seem like mercy, are meant to elicit one awe-inspiring response.

Praise.

This is perfectly personified in Job after successive “act(s) of God” leave him with no family, no resources, and a handful of critical friends. Job knows only one proper response to this shockingly personal tragedy of epic proportions: Broken hearted repentant grateful praise. So Job worships and cries out from the depths of a shattered heart:

The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21

Maybe the theater girl wasn’t too far off in her assessment. But let’s not be hypocritically selective in our own lives when witnessing His “daily” acts that we take for granted: from family, sunsets, music, to food. His fingerprints aren’t hiding from us.

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

29 thoughts on “An “Act of God”: He Apparently Hates Movie Screens”

  1. So, if you told them you wouldn’t come back to that theater because God had warned you by blacking out the screen, then maybe they would think twice about buying a book on basic customer experience.

  2. An excellent post! I often think similar thoughts when viewing videos of an accident or disaster and people start saying ‘Oh God’. Do they really know him, believe in him, have salvation through his Son Jesus Christ; or is it just a catch phrase for when they are shocked?

  3. this was a great post on how people blame God for all the bad things, but what about all the little things he does for us. we all need to remember to be thankful

  4. This was a great article, Bryan. I enjoyed it very much. It’s funny how much people use the word, “God,” when referring to the bad stuff that happens to them and never for anything good. That’s what I find in my article about religion to be the purpose of religion. Scaring people into belief, that if they deny Jesus and God, only bad will happen, when this couldn’t be more untrue. I do not believe in Jesus or God and I’ve had a very successful young life and I plan for continuing success so long as I continue to be a good person. I hope you got your refund in some way. Those, “acts of God,” can be a bitch.

  5. “…from family, sunsets, music, to food. His fingerprints aren’t hiding from us.”
    I like that… all we have to do is look… and see!!
    Great words Bryan, thank you! Beccy

  6. “Broken hearted repentant grateful praise”… this phrase from your post is how I believe each Christian should be when they are made aware of their sin. Broken hearted for disobedience to God, that leads to repentance which in turn produces thankfulness for the mercy He so graciously gives; put these three together and praise is the only result.
    Thank you again for another good post~~
    ~streim~

  7. brilliant. we want a vending machine God, we put in our prayers and out comes blessings. or we are terrified of His wrath and we grovel like worms. sad. more people will be lost for basing their opinion of God on movies and news outlets than anything the bible actually teaches. as much as you disliked my article about the Father and hell, if you could overlook my perspective on sheol, you may appreciate the other things I said about the Fathers character.
    =)

    1. Thanks for the comment Shane, the Living God is no genie in the bottle. I don’t remember disliking any of your articles, I might need a refresher on what you’re talking about!

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