When it’s a good idea to turn your back on the dragon

Bard stands with his son atop a ruined, burning tower, clutching the last black arrow that can pierce Smaug’s hide and bring the dragon down. Everything around them in Laketown is on fire, the windlass required to launch the enormous arrow has been destroyed, and Bard is forced to MacGyver his way out of the situation using his son’s shoulder to balance and aim the arrow.

Bard’s son Bain is panting and quivering with fear as Smaug tells Bard that the only thing he can look forward to is his own death. The boy looks over his shoulder at Smaug, scales glowing and enormous wings beating, coming for them, ready to set them alight with his breath.

Bard calls back his son’s attention.

“Bain, look at me. You look at me.

Bain turns back to his father, and even though he is still afraid, he keeps his eyes fixed on Bard, his back squared to the terrifying Smaug. Bard sights on the one chink in Smaug’s scaly armour, hauls back and releases the arrow …

This scene from The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies, more than any other, was the image I took away with me from the cinema. That moment hit me in the chest as I was watching the film.

“You look at me.”

That’s Jesus’ call to me – to fix my eyes on him and not the things that make me afraid. He is asking me to trust him, to watch what he is doing, and to join him in it.

“You look at me.”

It’s his call to you too.

… And let let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Hebrews 12:2a (NLT)

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