The God of the Left-handed
God uses unexpected people in unexpected ways to fulfill his plan.
Simon Birch is a funny and sad movie about two 12-year-old boys, Simon Birch, who is a little-person, and his friend Joe. Rejected and ignored by his parents, Simon idolizes Joe's mom Rebecca, who showers him with love and affection. Simon is both physically different and too smart for his own good. He's not afraid to confront Rev. Russell and his Sunday school teacher with questions about faith. And when the pastor invites the congregation for refreshments after church, Simon stands up and demands to know what donuts and coffee have to do with God.
His run-ins with the church leaders are a source of bitterness for Simon because he's convinced he's an instrument of God. He believes God has a plan for him and will someday use him in a heroic way. And sure enough, he's right. Simon and Joe end up chaperoning a bunch of third graders on a school bus. When the driver swerves to miss a deer in the road, loses control, and plunges the bus into a rushing river, it begins to sink, endangering the lives of the small children. But here is where Simon comes in. The panicking little kids will listen to Simon precisely because his size doesn't threaten them. Thanks to Simon they're all rescued; all except one. When the bus finally sinks, it looks like that one child will die, but again, because of his small size, Simon is able to fit through the bus window and drag the child out to safety. The child is saved, but Simon loses his life and dies a hero.
Simon Birch is a story about what some people might call fate and others might call providence. It's a story about how God's plan works itself out in our lives in unexpected ways. It's a story of how God uses our so-called handicaps to fulfill a larger purpose. In a strange way, ...
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Mark Mitchell is pastor of Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, California.