The above title is a profound part of the 2019 faith-based movie, Overcomer, as Thomas Hill, lying in his hospital bed, asks the lead character, John Harrison, this exact question. When John begins to answer, “I am a coach, a teacher, a husband, and a father,” Thomas has made his point quite clear. That is, as a Christian, his initial response should be a follower of Jesus.
What a great movie about redemption and God’s unconditional love! But the more I thought about the film’s “question and answer session,” the more I wondered what might have been my response to the same query. Even more thought-provoking, what would be my family and friend’s first thoughts regarding my life? Would they think about my love for the Lord or my devotion for the sports teams that I so passionately support?
Our strong and unwavering faith does not necessarily have to be overbearing or confrontational. However, it does need to be evident to those who see its results in the very fiber of our worldly existence. An example of this is what we have been referring to as “Smiling at the Storm.” If those around us witness our serenity during times of presumed trouble, then hopefully they will be drawn to the source of this comfort: Jesus!
Another popular film has a unique background that is also rooted in our previous subject, “Who Are You?” Lew Wallace was born in Brookville, Indiana, in 1827 and had an illustrious career as a lawyer, Civil War Union General, Governor of the New Mexico Territory, and a diplomat. However, his claim to fame was as an author. Wallace is best known for his story, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, a bestselling novel that has been called “the most influential Christian book of the 19th century.”
Interestingly enough, Lew’s initial intent was to write a book refuting the reality of Christ. During this process, he came to believe that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.
“He spent several years working on the project and had written nearly four
chapters when it became clear to him that Jesus was just as real a personality
as Socrates…or Caesar. The conviction became a certainty, and Wallace said,
‘I knew that Jesus Christ had lived because of the facts connected with the
period in which he lived.’”
Now, the rest of the story: the moment of “who are you?” shines brightly from a quiet, but persistent and loving, disciple of the Lord. In other words, in Wallace’s life the “who are you?” was his wife of more than 50 years, Susan Elston Wallace. This prayer warrior had been interceding on her husband’s behalf for a very long time, when finally the literal moment of truth arrived for him.
“At that point (his new understanding of Jesus), Wallace fell on his knees
to pray for the first time in his life. He asked God to reveal himself to him, to
forgive his sins, and help him become a follower of Christ. Wallace says,
‘Towards morning the light broke into my soul. I went into my bedroom, woke
my wife and told her that I had received Jesus as my Lord and Savior.’
‘O Lew,’ she said, ‘I have prayed for this ever since you told me of your
purpose to write this book, that you would find him while you wrote it!’”
That is exactly what happened, as Wallace changed the work he was originally writing, and used all of his research to write another book. Later, the publication became a movie starring Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur. Those who have seen the film will never forget the scene where he races four magnificent white horses in a thrilling chariot race. It is actually the story of a Jewish nobleman who, like Lew Wallace, had come to believe that Jesus is indeed the Son of God.
So, the answer to our title, “Who Are You?” depends on where your priorities are found. If you are a Christian, then others should recognize this fact by the way you live this life and how you continue to Smile at the Storm!