Film Review: Extraordinary
EXTRAORDINARY tells the amazing story of ultra-marathon runner and college professor David Horton, his wife, Nancy, and their attempt to finish their marriage race well. Although proud of his incredible athletic accomplishments and the impact he has on his students, David's family continuously pays a high price for his years of competitive running. Following his open-heart surgery and irreparable damage to his knees, Nancy is ready for Dave to hang up his racing shoes for good and focus his boundless energy on their family. Instead, feeling called by God to "inspire people one last time," Dave sets off for a 2,900-mile race across America. EXTRAORDINARY was created and produced by Liberty University's film program.
Extraordinary is a wonderful film in that, the story is simple ( based on a true story), yet the dynamics, like so many things in this life, are very complicated.
I found myself struggling to understand why David took on those huge running challenges. What was he running from? I wondered if it was his way to be closer to the Lord, but his lack of peace and injuries also spoke volumes. His wife, Nancy, said to a close friend, “When did serving God become not serving your family?”
The film reflects on if the decisions we make are inspired by God or if we use God as an excuse to do what we desire. That question is a thread throughout the film. While Dave felt like he was being inspired by the Lord, his wife Nancy initially saw selfish desire, but didn’t question it, because her husband was certain it was a call from the Lord.
David is inspired by verses from 1 Corinthians 12 and Isaiah 40:31. It’s interesting how David saw Isaiah 40:31 as physically running a race, while Nancy thought of it as their marriage and the spiritual race. I have reflected on Isaiah 40:31 when I have been physically or mentally tired, discouraged with trials and challenges and thinking of my spiritual journey. Have you thought of Isaiah 40:31 in different aspects of your life? Isaiah 40:31 says, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Extraordinary encompasses the challenges so many face in marriage. Being on different pages spiritually, emotionally, physically - disappointments and expectations and with the years flying by, the sense of urgency of having as much quality time as possible. It encompasses the practical application of 1 Corinthians 13, known to many as “The Love Chapter,” which spells out what real love looks like. In our sinful reality, 1 Corinthians 13 is hard to read in times of sorrow and even harder to do on a daily basis. I liked how the film showed the importance of praying for your spouse and your marriage, because no one can live up to 1 Corinthians 13 on their own strength.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13; If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Extraordinary conveyed the importance of friends who not only believe in the Word of God, but have it as their guide. So in times of trials and anguish they can point their friends to the Word, remind them of God’s faithfulness in his promises and pray with them. David’s wife, Nancy, had a friend who has the Bible as her life guide.
The film shows different relationship dynamics. Marriage, parenthood, friends, mentors, colleagues, team members and reaching out to others with the gospel. That’s what also made this story complicated, because David thought God was trying to reach people through him as a runner. As his wife, Nancy, pointed out, the only people that could really confirm that was David and God - but ultimately only God, as sometimes what we think is a call, is just our will in disguise.
Extraordinary glorified God through His word and His creation. David spoke of how he knew for sure that there was a Creator because nature shows a design. This reminded me of Psalm 19:1-2 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
This film shows how a Christian couple can look at things so differently, and how hard marriage can be, because we are selfish by nature. Yet marriage calls us to serve for life, even if the other spouse doesn’t and I think the film conveyed this very well.
Did the film encourage my faith?
Yes, it did, because it ultimately has a focus on serving the Lord, through marriage. Our reward is not with our spouse, but with the Lord and it’s good to have practical reminders of that, because it is so easy to slide into selfishness.
Extraordinary is an extraordinary film about the life long commitment of serving the Lord, through marriage. It’s a film about faith in our Creator and having a relationship with Him that survives tests, trials and hardships in all aspects of life.
The zooming in to earth at the beginning of the film, and zooming out at the end of the film, reminded me of how small we are and yet not insignificant, because God knows every detail of the lives of each and every one of us. He cares deeply and through His Son Jesus Christ, has promised us a place in His family and kingdom that has no end. Although there will be no marriage in heaven, we do not need to mourn its absence. God has promised us a kingdom that is so amazing, our minds cannot imagine or comprehend it. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—”
But while we wait for the Kingdom of God, we are called to serve and marriage challenges us like no other relationship, in all aspects. While Extraordinary shows how challenging marriage can be, we are also shown what Matthew 19:26 says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Praise the Lord!
Thank you for reading this review. Until next time - peace be with you.
Film source: YouTube
Source for film thumbnail: https://deepcdigital.com
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