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#1 Jay Turner

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 09:37 PM

I ran across and have been watching my way through a couple seasons of the show Solitary, on http://www.hulu.com The gist of the show is that nine people are competing against each other to win $50.000. They each are placed into solitary confinement with no outside contact except for Val, a computer who is administering a series of “Tests” and “Treatments” designed to push the contestants to their physical, emotional, and psychological breaking points. There is no voting each other off the island, just a red button constantly staring them in the face for when they decide they cannot take any more and quit.

As you watch through the show, you realize that the competition isn’t so much against each other, but it’s against themselves. And the real prize wasn’t the money at the end, but instead was what they learned about themselves through the process and seeing how they were able to push themselves beyond what they though they were able to do.

The pod/cell that they are locked in is a reminder of how much there is in our lives that we are in bondage to. But the real bondage isn’t in the circumstances of life, but instead in how we see ourselves and the circumstances that we find ourselves in. We can give up at any time and run away from our trials and battles, but we show our strength when we remain in our struggles and continue the fight.

Val, in the show, is the God figure. Val administered the test and the treatments, but the pain and the suffering she put the people through was not out of a sense of vengeance. So much of what the people were put through was brutal, yet the choice to continue to fight was always in the hands of the contestants. Val would push them beyond their limits, yet was always there to encourage them to continue the fight. Sometimes that encouragement came in the form of a kind word or a needed reprieve and sometimes was a punching bag for them to let out their frustrations.

The coolest thing about the show for me was in how much it emulated the process that God takes us through, letting us go through trials and tribulations, yet always being there in the midst of them. The show was definitely a secular show and didn’t even approach the religious side of things, yet through it, I believe that God revealed Himself to many of the people on it, teaching them many spiritual truths and stripping away many of the facades and misconceptions that the contestants had about themselves. In the end, whether they were the winners of the $50,000 or not, most of them came out stronger and different than the people who started.

God works in different ways in different peoples lives. For me, this was a reminder that He can speak to people through just about anything. The real question is weather we have the heart to listen to what He is trying to communicate to us. He is the one who draws us to Him, but we are the ones who determine how far we are willing to let Him take us. And it is not about whether we win or we loose, but our willingness to be active participants in the process. As long as we continue to fight with however much or little we have, letting God have His way in our lives, in the end we will come out victors.

#2 Marvin Harrell

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 03:53 PM

Indeed, Jay. You speak a solitary truth!

I've been challenged in recent days with a family struggle and how I will trust Jesus through it. My mother-in-law had a severe stroke 2 1/2 weeks ago. About 2/3 of her right frontal lobe is gone, and I've truly been struggling with my Lord on this. Do I run to the things that have traditionally medicated my pain, or do I run to the one that can heal me?

My dear wife and I have mourned the loss of "normal" and what this change will bring to our entire family. But together we agree that God himself is carrying us all through this. I really sensed God whispering to my heart this deep truth, "If your sense of normal is found in anything but me alone and all that means, you will be rocked. But if you will allow me to be your 'normal' you will not be shaken."

As you mentioned,

"The real question is weather we have the heart to listen to what He is trying to communicate to us. He is the one who draws us to Him, but we are the ones who determine how far we are willing to let Him take us. And it is not about whether we win or we loose, but our willingness to be active participants in the process. As long as we continue to fight with however much or little we have, letting God have His way in our lives, in the end we will come out victors.


I praise Jesus for His grace to us in this "solitary" place. I for one desire to go the distance as an active participant with my Jesus, knowing he will carry us through it. Thanks for the reminder that God can use anything to speak to our hearts and heal our souls!
Marvin Harrell
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www.cmalliance.org
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#3 Jay Turner

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 08:16 PM

I wish I could say that I knew what you are going through, but I know I cannot. No one can fully appreciate another's trials and struggles because they are not the ones in the midst of them. And though others may stand with you, those times are between you and your relationship with God. No one else. As one who has had his share of them, I can testify that no matter what happens, God is right there with you in the midst of them. He will fight with you, strengthen you and give you rest, if you will seek His face and allow Him to. Those solitary places, those wilderness experiences, are God's way of drawing you near. They are times where He strengthens you through bringing you to the end of yourself. It is at the point where we can do no more and have nothing left to give that God is able to step in and continue on where we leave off. The thing about grace is that it cannot be earned or taken. It can only be given. In order to truly receive God's grace, our own will must be out of the picture. Regrettably, most of the time, before we will allow ourselves to let go of our own wills, it takes disasters or extreme hardships to see what is truly important. I believe that is much of the reason why the Bible tells us that of our own strength, we will never turn to God. He is the one who draws us to Him for we are too proud to place our faith in Him, so He has to allow hardships to come and draw us into those solitary places to bring us to the end of ourselves so in turn He can show us His grace.