I have a new theory, derived from many, many hours studying Pixar movies and the Bible:
“Often what we see as annoying, God sees as faith.”
You might be thinking: “Wait, which Pixar movie has God in it??” Answer: All of them. But for today, I want to talk about two in particular, and the annoying characters they feature.
Annoying character: Russell.
Let me be clear: I’m not saying I personally think Russell is annoying – but Carl Fredrickson definitely does. Big time. All he wants is to be left alone with his memory of Ellie and the old dreams they had together.
But Russell keeps ruining that. He’s so annoying, Mr. Fredrickson is unable to recognize: Russell is the answer to his prayers.
When Carl met Ellie, she was a loud little kid who loved adventure. And who is Russell? A loud little kid who loves adventure – but Carl can’t see it! He’s so stuck missing the old that he’s missing the new as well.
Unfortunately, this pattern is consistent across Scripture – story after story of annoying people who actually possessed tons of faith:
At Newsong, we talk a lot about the Good Samaritan. Jesus specifically picked him as the hero for the story because in first century Jerusalem, a Samaritan was seen as the most annoying person of all. Now he’s our model for reaching out to neighbors who are different from you. Which is great, but don’t forget: in the story, the Samaritan is not the one who got helped – he’s the one who came to the rescue.
Which brings me to the second Pixar movie:
Toy Story 3
Annoying character: the aliens
This is one of the best movies ever made about friendship, so you might be surprised to find such annoying characters right in the middle of their circle. We got Woody and Buzz, Jessie and Bullseye, Mr. and Mrs. Potato-Head, all our favorites – who needs a bunch of aliens hanging around saying “oooooooo” to everything??
AND YET, in the end, (spoiler alert), when all hope was lost, they were there, causing the most annoyed character to say, “You saved our lives; we are eternally grateful.”
So the question is: Who do you feel annoyed by? How are you engaging with them right now? Avoidance? Frustration?
What if God is actually using them to save your life?
Dave Brubaker is Newsong’s Communications Pastor and movie lover.