By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
We are known, we are seen, and we are valued.
When you’re looking for them, spiritual truths can come in the most unusual of places. God can remind us of who He is and who we are through a multitude of ways.
For me, one of those reminders came in the form of the quirky Disney movie Luca.
You’re More Than Your Appearance
We live in a world where many judgements and decisions (good and bad) are based on our appearance. Those impressions can be determined by our clothing or skin color or size or hairstyle – none of which get to the root of who we are.
But God looks beyond that. He sees through the outside to what’s on the inside.
“…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
Image designed by YouVersion
This truth was exemplified in a culminating scene of Luca. The film is kind of a throw back to The Little Mermaid; in this case, it’s two “sea monsters” (who actually look like colorful sea horses) who turn into humans and become ‘part of that world.’
The two main characters, Luca and Alberto, are two young sea monsters who are fascinated by life on land. The trick is that they look human as long as they are not touched by water. Any part of their body that gets wet immediately turns back into their true scaly selves.
Luca and Alberto experience ice cream in their human form for the first time. Image courtesy of Disney Media
They eventually become friends and stay with a young girl, Giulia, and her father, Massimo (the strong, silent type, with a hook for a hand – no joke). Luca and Alberto decide to join Giulia in her quest to win the Portorosso Cup and beat the bully Ercole.
They have to accomplish this while not being captured, as the village is afraid of sea monsters and have set a price on their head.
Who Are They, Then?
The climax comes in the final scene of the Cup. After a high speed race through the city in the rain with a myriad of obstacles, the two boys stand at the finish line that they crossed first. But, they stand there in their true monster selves.
As the crowd advances toward them with their fishing spears at the ready, Ercole pushes through with his own spear and declares that he saw them first, so he has the right to capture them!
Guilia retorts that the boys are not monsters, to which Ercole replies, “Oh yeah? Who are they then?”
And here comes the moment that had me crying in the middle of a kids’ movie night.
Giulia’s dad, who up until now has been almost silent, calls through the hubbub: “I know who they are.”
The whole crowd (and the theater too) is silent, wondering if Massimo is sending these kids to their doom.
Then he states, “They are Luca and Alberto. And they are (as he walks over and grasps Alberto’s slimy fish arm)…the winners!”
Massimo wasn’t swayed by their blue hair or flappy ears. He had eaten with these boys, let them sleep in his house, and he saw their hearts.
God Sees Our True Selves
And that’s what God does with us. The world sees our appearance and our immediate qualifications, but the Lord sees our heart.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” Jeremiah 1:5 NIV
He created us, designed us, and formed us: for His glory. God is intimately aware of who we are right now and who He has created us to be. He sees through all the trimmings to our true selves, and He honors what He sees.
“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above – spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them…” Ephesians 2:10 AMP
When the jeering crowd asks just who you are, God responds: “I know who they are. That person is My masterpiece.”
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me…
For you formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.”
Psalm 139:1-5, 13-14 NKJV