The Birdbox – An Alternative View

The Theme

The current rage movie at the beginning of 2019 seems to be The Birdbox. I haven’t seen all the movie, but enough of it to get the gist. Honestly, I did not care for the language. I am not pointing fingers if you watched it, I just knew that it wasn’t for me. Two of my daughters, however, were curious as to what it was about and watched it to the end. I promise to try not to spoil it for you if you want to watch it as I discuss it here.

man blindfolded

In short, there is some creature, monster, presence, when seen by a human, causes the human to kill themselves. It is assumed as being something evil. Therefore, you see all the people who are wearing blindfolds in the trailer, memes, etc. in an attempt not to look at it. It stars Sandra Bullock as a mom determined to save her children, and they are blindfolded for most of what I saw of the movie. As to why it is called The Birdbox, you’ll have to find that out. I’m not giving that away.

animal animal portrait animal world annoyed

I came through the room several times and watched a few scenes. Enough to get an idea of what was happening. I asked what the presence was and was told: “we don’t know.” Where did it come from? Same answer. I told them to let me know when they find out where it came from. You know, was it space or some resident evil. I got the look, so I thought it best to move on.

Humanity in the movie was facing possible extinction by this presence. It all revolved around eyesight. Therefore you were safer if you were blindfolded when stepping outside or you could exist inside as long as the windows were blocked. It seems the presence couldn’t get inside somehow.

Of course, I being me, I had to wonder “would God ever allow or even send such a curse or plague on humankind?” And if he did, why would he? I went to the Bible to research any such happenings, since this curse, presence, whatever, seemed to be akin to the plagues of biblical and apocalyptic proportions? Here is what I found.

The Study of Plagues and Curses

person in black coat and hat with plague doctor mask

In all cases that I could find there is a warning to the people of the day to turn or return from evil or wicked ways. (For discussion on what the Bible calls sin and wickedness, click here). The Bible calls the turning from sin repentance. It is a military term that means to make an about-face. It is a 180-degree turn in the opposite direction. The wayward people are called to forsake their wicked ways and turn or return to God and godly ways.

There is a promise of forgiveness. Many times in the Bible, individuals, and nations have turned from their wickedness and asked for forgiveness. God granted it, albeit there were times that he still let consequences fall that were in motion. There are also many instances where individuals and nations did not turn, and God judged them for their wickedness.

God preferred restoration over destruction. People groups, including his chosen people, the Israelites, were warned before judgment fell. God warned because he wanted restoration of his relationship with them. Scripture after scripture, God pleads for the wayward to turn from their wickedness. Many times he states that he has no pleasure in the death of saint or sinner.

Biblical Application

body of water

Though there are at least a hundred references or more to plagues and curses for disobedience and evil, Old and New Testament, I have listed a few that could be applied to this movie’s theme as they deal with blindness and /or darkness.

I will bring distress on the people, and they will walk like blind men because they have sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like filth. – Zephaniah 1:17

The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me. – Deuteronomy 28:20-24

“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” – John 3:19-20

And for this cause, God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. – Thessalonians 2:11-12

Now Back to Our Movie

night television tv video

With the previous in mind, I would like to rewrite the movie a little from that perspective. First, the people of the day had to have a warning that judgment was coming. The movie, of course, does not have this element, so let’s insert it as happening before the opening credits. Let’s say there was a prophet of the day which quoted our scriptures above to the people.

The people were wicked, and they had been warned to turn from that wickedness or suffer judgment. With that, we would know that the people of the day did not respond and subsequently, God sent this presence. The prophet would have warned that the people lived in darkness and chose darkness. Now, they would live in physical darkness or die.

The presence could be demonic, or it could be like the angel of death that was sent by God to judge the Egyptians during the ten plagues pronounced by Moses. By the way, one of the ten plagues was a darkness upon the land. This plague will also appear in the time of tribulation spoken of in the book of Revelation.

One more element we would have to write into the movie would be a way for those who would turn from their ways to survive. This would be salvation. They would be the ones that would survive, not because of their own goodness, but because God would have granted them sanctuary from the presence. That salvation could be before the judgment or during. Depends on what the warning was from our prophet. If it was like the angel of death in Egypt, then somewhere in this Birdbox world, there would be those who could survive, but only because of their turning to God and following as he instructed to be saved.

The Angel of Death

horror crime death psychopath

One day, we will all look into the face of death, and it will mean our end on this earth. God has warned all of us of that end. The question in the air is this: then what? For those who have turned to God, forsaking their wickedness, accepting the redemption through his Son, Jesus, knowing they cannot save themselves, there will be eternity with God. For those who do not, there is eternal separation from God.

People do not have to be blind or wear blindfolds when dealing with God. He sent his Son for this purpose:

“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” – Luke 4:14-21 (NIV)

Margins and Guardrails

Once I heard a speaker talk about living in the margins. He caught my interest, so I listened up.

blank business close up composition

“Take a piece of notebook paper,” he said. “Yes, they still make them. Notice the lines that run perpendicular to the horizontal lines. From that line to the edge is the margin.”

I was tracking with him. He went on to explain that too many of us live outside the main body of the page and into the margins. Subsequently, when something goes wrong, we go off the page.

Living in the margins is also known as living in the fast lane. It leads to burnout, relational problems, health problems due to stress, etc. We need to strive to live in the main body of the paper, so when things go sideways, we may wind up in the margins, but our lives don’t go off the page or out of control.

How do we stay out of the margins and stay in the main area? A friend and I were discussing this, and he pointed out that the vertical lines that denote the margins can be viewed as guardrails. Guardrails are in place along roadsides and bridges to keep us on the path, bridge, or track and out of the shoulder area and subsequently into the ditch.

My friend used his weight as an example. He has an ideal weight he strives for, but he also has a “warning weight.” When he gets too close to his warning weight, he knows that he has to make a change to remain where he wants to be. If he stays over the warning weight (the guardrail or warning grooves), then he will live in the margins or on the shoulder which can be detrimental.

black car instrument cluster panel

Recently, I rented a car that had a “lane assist” feature that when activated, not only alerts the driver to potentially going over the road lane markings, but it will also adjust the steering for you. If you take your hands off the wheel, it will keep the vehicle within the lane markings. However, after a few seconds, it beeps and flashes a warning on the instrument panel that driver attention is needed.  I am not sure how it knows the driver is not touching the steering wheel, but it knows. You too can set up parameters to make sure you are staying in the lane and not crossing guardrails or going into margins.

In review, there are four key components to consider: the lane or body area, guardrails or warning grooves, the margins or shoulders, and off the page or in the ditch. There are subcomponents to consider as well.

The lane

This is where we live, where the rubber meets the road. We don’t just sit in the lane. We are moving. You have to have a destination in mind. Where are you going? What will it take to get you there?

The guardrails or shoulder grooves

These are the warning systems we put in place to alert us to the potential that we are going off course. These, of course, slow us down, but they are not quiet about it. There are also warning and informational signs and mile markers along the wayside. Do you have a mentor or someone you can be accountable to concerning your goals? Do you regularly evaluate your goals or destination?

The margins or shoulder

adult alone anxious black and white

Here we have lost our focus. This happens. It is not the end of the journey nor is it time to be alarmed. Sometimes we have to pull over to fix a flat, but when we are done, we don’t stay there.  We don’t live there. We certainly don’t travel there. Some call this a rut. A rut, someone has said is a grave with the ends knocked out. There are other times where we have wound up on the side of the road or in the margin and didn’t realize it. This often happens before we know it and because we were distracted. It also happens because there were no guardrails or warning grooves in place. Why are you on the side of the road? Did someone or something force you to the side? Did you wind up here accidentally? How long have you been there? What will it take to get you moving again?

Off the paper or in the ditch

This is a dangerous area. Many people do not recover from this part. Often if someone is pulled or pulls themselves out of the ditch, the damage is not repairable. They have to start with a new sheet of paper or go down a different road, usually bearing the scars that come from ditch living.

You can apply this analogy of the roadway or paper to almost any area of your life. It can apply to your job, your marriage, other relationships, your finances, your health, etc. Notice I said to apply. It is a choice. It is intentional. You have to apply the strategy on purpose to stay on track, to install the guardrails, to stay off the side of the road, and to stay out of the ditch. You decide. You must take responsibility. People will run you off the road, into the margins, but you don’t have to stay there.

You may ask, “How do I get started or if I am moving how do I direct the rest of the journey?” I am glad you asked. There are good helps out there, but I will recommend several here that are generic. You can find some that are more specific to the goal or destination you are striving to obtain.

The Lane or Main Body of the PageA Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren. Everyone needs a reason to succeed. We all need to discover our purpose. This book is a great place to start.

The Guardrails or Warning GroovesBoundaries – Henry Cloud. This book helps you outline and live a balanced life.

The Margins or ShoulderGet Out of That Pit – Beth Moore. As someone who has been on the shoulders of life, Beth can relate to being stuck on the side of the road. In this book, she gives practical helps to get you started again.

Off the Page or In the DitchHow I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling– Frank Bettger. Don’t let the title fool you. This book is far more reaching than just selling. Yes, this is a great book if you are in sales. However, if you are in the ditch, you have to sell yourself the idea of getting out of that ditch. This book is an excellent tool.