My friend Rehana invited me spur of the moment the other day to go see the movie Hidden Figures with her, along with her sister Siti, mom Vera and niece Naya. I was thrilled to do anything with these ladies, but I had also been wanting to see this movie everyone had been raving about. Well, now I know why! What an incredible movie! The casting, the dress, the acting, the TRUE story! If you haven’t seen it, it’s a beautiful, inspiring story of beyond brilliant, dignified women who endured prejudice and inconvenience beyond what I can imagine, and with their genius and determination, truly changed the world. Their mathematical genius played an integral role in the success of NASA figuring out mathematically how to both launch and safely land the first space capsule to orbit the earth in 1961. The characters’ side stories are heartwarming, and the gradual erosion of racial barriers among key characters is deeply moving (okay, I bawled a couple of times) and inspiring to the core.
What those ladies accomplished not only for NASA, but for women and for the cause of civil rights, is immeasurable. After taking in a movie like that, I feel like I want to do something wonderful, impactful, and world-changing too! But what, how?! For me it would certainly NEVER involve math or any sort of intellectual brilliance. It could never be athletic ability or creative genius. I’m just not sure I have any skills or ideas or story that would ever change the world.
The afternoon had turned blustery and chilly (by California standards) as we said goodbye to Siti and Naya, and I walked Rehana and Vera back to their car. Vera and her late husband Willy have done their fair share of changing the world in Indonesia through years of faithful, loving missionary work there. After we said our goodbye’s and I said “Tuhan memberkati” (“God bless you”) to Vera and closed her car door, I looked across to Rehana and said, “Man, that movie makes me want to do something amazing…but what?” And Rehana, who is pretty much a world-changer herself, simply said, “Maybe its just to keep doing what we’re doing.” Well said, sister.
Sometimes I think the most amazing thing we can do is stick with doing what we’re called to do. I don’t have any superhuman powers, but as I once heard a wise woman say, “You are smart enough and capable enough to do what God has called you to do.” True. He’s given each of us just what we need to accomplish what He has called us to do, with His help, empowered by His love and Holy Spirit. Our job is to keep on keeping on. And although my story will never be the stuff of an inspiring movie, maybe I can make a little bitty difference. I hope I can be God’s arms of love to people here and there, His words of hope and encouragement, life, and peace. I hope along the way I am an example of the love of Christ to people I live with, serve with, and interact with in this big world. If I do, I guess I might change the world in some small, good way. And even though I’ll never hear the applause of thousands at the finish of my story, there is one set of hands I would love to see come together at the closing. They are nail scarred, and they changed the universe forever.
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” –Colossians 3:23-24
Jana Alayra is a children’s ministry legend. We’re honored to have her as part of our Newsong Kids team. You can see more of what she’s up to at www.janaalayra.com