Artist’s Lane: Trusting in the bigger picture

By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

Have you ever made plans, only to have God direct your steps differently? It seems like it happens all the time.

As I listened to a prayer request on Tuesday night, I said, “It’s really disappointing, but there’s a bigger picture here. While it seems like this film is being held hostage by people in power with alternative plans, we need to consider what God says about it.”

My prayer group came to a big stop sign in the road this last week and seven families collided with disappointment. We have been meeting weekly on a virtual call for two and half years. Our mission: to pray for a film that my grandson directed, a film that has hit roadblock after roadblock and been detoured and delayed with its release. 

Listening to an interview with Joni Eareckson Tada, she put everything in perspective. “Sometimes God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” Ten words that became her only hope after a diving accident severed her spinal cord leaving her a quadriplegic at 17 years of age.

She became paralyzed from the shoulders down. Any semblance of what she knew of a normal life was gone. 

The film project, “Space Waves,” dear to our hearts, isn’t as tragic as Joni’s story, but certainly one that stopped everyone associated in their tracks. Our prayer team sons, daughters and grandchildren met in college in the film department. They wrote, directed, filmed and produced a coming-of-age full-length movie, a project that has been in production for the last three years.

The film has had its bumps along the way — 25 people went on location to a radio tower to shoot a scene, only to find that it was torn down by the city the week before. Not derailed by the enormous task of finding a second location, it would take months before a suitable tower structure was found. To that end, a new safety team had to be hired and a new insurance policy had to be written, all so the team could complete what they had initially set out to do. 

There were other obstacles that had to be navigated around. Music needed to be changed at the last minute, then all the sound edits had to be rebuilt after digital files were lost. 

About the time that the project was entering the home stretch, securing investors and planning its release date, there was another pothole. Or in this case, a sinkhole. 

The agent of one of the main characters, an up-and-coming teen heartthrob, is now refusing to sign a release for his client. The actor, who landed a role in the Netflix hit “Outer Banks” has ballooned in popularity. This includes reaching over 3 million followers on Instagram. 

The actor’s agent doesn’t want “Space Waves,” an independent film, to be released until he is able to secure a next big thing for his client. 

My grandson and his crew have just become familiar with a new red, octagon-shaped sign in their path. It reads “Hollywood politics.” I guess this is their welcome-to-the-real-world greeting. After three years of working on the film, we are ready to see it rip up the pavement, but the movie world isn’t. So, we wait.

We have to remind ourselves, there is a bigger picture here. We have petitioned God to bring glory to this project, that He would develop character in our children, keep them from being compromised and create a high-quality final presentation. Our end state? To be a part of a vehicle used to touch today’s youth with a clean, uplifting and clear message.

Final brushstroke: In praying for this film, our motto from the beginning was “Finish Strong.” It now feels like this ride is jacked-up on cinder blocks with the engine off to the side. All said, when the world throws up a stop sign, see it for what it is. It’s about trusting in a bigger God who sees a much bigger picture. Yes, we have to down shift from time to time, and even come to a complete stop, but we are far better off trusting that we will be taken down the right path, rather than end up at a dead end with nothing to show for it. 

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This story was posted on July 8, 2020.