Activating God’s Promise

15039555_10210831807652088_8231918332645232678_oMy first feature film as a writer-director, Healing River, in production.

“This is what the LORD God says, ‘In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’ But you would not.” ~Isaiah 30:15

Nearly 20 years ago, I received Isaiah 30:15-18 as a promise from God. I don’t usually “claim” promises from God (like never). But I felt deeply impressed that this was real.

I assumed the last line (“but you would not”) didn’t apply to me. And verses 16 through 18 were about the Israelites to whom the promise was originally given. I was a seasoned Jesus follower, so, unlike the Israelites who tried to fulfill the promise themselves, I knew I wouldn’t do that.

As a part of the promise, my wife and I felt called to make movies. So I secured a day-job teaching filmmaking, and she became the production coordinator at an animation and special effects company.

Then the teaching gig ended. And the movie deals, almost miraculously, fell apart:

  • A mega-studio held-off sending my contract for a “sold” movie project, and then produced it without me.
  • A film financier’s marriage collapsed (cheating and guns were involved) hours before he was supposed to transfer the money for our upcoming production.
  • A division of Warner Bros went broke just before they were supposed to begin work on their next feature film–my project.
  • And an executive at 20th Century Fox suddenly kaboshed a movie I’d pitched after the production division had already said yes.

I pushed harder. And harder. Desperately trying to fulfill God’s promise. True, I’d sensed from the start that the promise was about more than just making movies; it was about becoming the person I needed to be, and that others needed me to be.

Finally, the money ran out. So we quit the movie biz and moved to Ohio, where I served at a church for four years. Then one day I revisited that Isaiah passage, the part I figured hadn’t applied to me:

“But you would not, ‘No, you said, ‘We will flee on horses.’ And therefore, you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore, your pursuers will be swifter! You will flee until you are left (unprotected and exposed) like a flag on a mountaintop.’ But the LORD (still) longs to be gracious to you (to fulfill His promise).”

And then it struck me: The passage begins with a challenge, not to amass “horses” and armies, but to “return and rest.” Not to frantically wage war and “win,” but to find strength (the fulfillment of the promise) “in quietness and confidence.”

Like the Israelites, I’d never fulfilled my role.

So, without expecting ever to make movies again, I entered a time of renewal, of returning and resting, of seeking nothing more than God himself. I learned more than I ever had before about who I was, and who I needed to be. And I began to find my true strength.

And then one day an Ohio (not Hollywood) movie company called and said,

Hey, want to make a movie?”

Healing River PosterNotzilla posterTo watch or order Healing River, click here.

To watch or order Notzilla, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Movies, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Activating God’s Promise

  1. Pingback: Miss Take | Mitch Teemley

  2. I love to hear stories like this.

    And a side note: My Bible study group just finished reading Isaiah

    Liked by 2 people

  3. francisashis says:

    Very strong testimony dear.Thank you for relying on him.Take care.🌷👍🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Patience is a virtue, but not one we come by easily. So often it’s hard to know if the Spirit is telling us to act or to wait and watch even when the word is right in front of us. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Love this story – especially because it’s true. Two days ago I was talking with a friend who had had everything fall apart JUST as each thing was about to come through. This post made me think of her. May I forward it to her?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Also from Isaiah: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (55:8-9). Of course, those years you pursued moviemaking were not without purpose; God never fails in accomplishing his plans. We’re just not always apprised of what he’s orchestrating and why. Things can look quite grim to us. That’s why I so appreciate your testimony, Mitch–not only how God miraculously blessed you in the end, but especially of the faith that carried you through the unknowns of the desert.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I enjoyed this! So often I hear God telling me this year that it’s his job to figure it out, not mine. Faith is always needed!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I feel like I’m in a time like that. I’m in a new season. We’ll see where it goes. Thanks, Mitch, for putting yourself out there. God bless!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Julia says:

    How many times do we set out to do or get things we want,yet God has a way of letting us get to the end of ourselves so that we can see what it is He has in store for us! We must learn to allow the potter to form the clay into what is for His purpose. A hard lesson,but a peaceful one. God Bless you Mitch. (Matthew 11:28-30).
    Julia

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Bruce Cooper says:

    Wow. You can’t buy that. That is a precious gift from God that you will never forget and it’s personal. And it’s those “personals” that melts our hearts like nothing else can. It’s those one on one’s where Jesus lets you know you are His and He is yours. Beautiful Mitch, thank you so much for sharing. May God’s grace, peace, joy and blessings be poured upon you and yours.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. What a moving and powerful testimony, Mitch! I’m glad you shared your story with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. God is sneaky that way. Surprising us with grace when we really don’t think it can happen. Thanks for sharing your story and your life with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. revruss1220 says:

    Your story gives me some much-needed hope and correction. Thank you for your vulnerability and open heart, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. rahjomuelvin says:

    I guess, what is happening to me now is something like this too. A pause, a renewal, and redirection.
    Thank you for this!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Kellie says:

    Love this! Gives me hope ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Beck says:

    Oh the circles we must travel… like the Israelites in the desert.
    I love your story. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Lisa Beth says:

    Great story and testimony of ‘claiming’ and testing God’s word. I appreciate the marital teamwork too!
    Press on brother!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. This is so encouraging. It’s true, God wants us to do our part in making things happen in our lives (studying, working hard, pushing doors etc), ultimately He is the one who opens the doors and provides for us. Thanks for the reminder- especially during a pandemic where much of life is NOT going according to plan!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. rubysradio says:

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Isn’t that exactly how God works? (Asked with a chuckle and knowing smile from personal experiences.) He’s always more interested in the relationship with us than His promise to us…because He IS the promise. So thankful you found Him and His promise for you. I look forward to watching these movies and more. 😊 Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I needed the reassurance of this post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Pingback: My Experiment in Becoming Human | Mitch Teemley

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