Thursday, March 26, 2009
I've always loved the 1962 edition of "The Miracle Worker" about the life of Hellen Keller. This scene tears my heart out. This wonderful woman, Ann Sullivan, (a real life character) devoted so much of her time and life to helping this girl who had been deaf and blind since an illness she contracted at around 18 months of age. Hellen's father and mother had given her up as a lost cause and at one point even considered admitting her to a mental institution. But Ann Sullivan was convinced she was bright and would not be denied a chance to see if she could teach this poor child how to communicate and function in the world. This scene shows the moment Hellen finally realizes that the signs Ann had been teaching her for so long were actually the names of objects. In a sense, Hellen finally is able to "see" and "hear." When the disciples of John the Baptist, then in prison, came to Jesus to inquire about his Messiahship, the response was: Matthew 11:5, "The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them." The once bitter, resentful, resistent Hellen who had violently fought Ann's efforts at every step of the way now sees that Ann was really trying to give her "sight" and "hearing" all along. The closing scene where Ann, with Hellen wrapped up in her arms, signs the words, "I love Hellen" is a wonderful illustration of God's love for his precious children. He calls us by name. He chose us by name before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4ff). He takes us, bitter, resentful, and resistant as we are and opens our eyes and subdues our rebellious hearts unto Himself, wraps us up in his arms and there gives us peace, comfort, and safety in his unbounded love for us. Through the sacrifice of Jesus in our behalf, having canceled out and forgiven us all our sins, we rest secure in the love of God. There is no safer, no more secure place than that.