I thoroughly enjoyed 42, the movie based on Jackie Robinson’s first two years as America’s first black ballplayer on an all white team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. I admired the raw faith that was captured in the real-life plot of the movie, and I greedily ate up the multitude of parallels to God’s Word. However, the theme that resounded heaviest in my heart was that sometimes God uses our hardships to accomplish His greater good.
God will use our pain, our heartache and our difficulty to break open the doors of limits, so we can run in the fields of His Promise. God allows only the strong to endure this process because only they can maintain the patience, fortitude, resilience and humility required to take God’s plan to the finish line.
Jackie Robinson was a man of strength, and His obedience and reliance on God transformed a nation. I applaud him and people like him who are willing to take hits from this world in order to accomplish the mighty work of God.
1) The Problem – In 1946 America is still knee-deep in racial fear and segregation. Since baseball is iconic for American pride, desegregation of this sport is crucial to Americans taking a big step towards racial equality.
2) The Call – The Brooklyn Dodgers’ manager, Branch Rickey, has a God-given burden to step up and fight against racial prejudice. He has a plan, but He knows that Enemy’s forces on every side will rise up to stop him. He has the platform to set the stage for change, but he needs someone with talent and heart to break through racial barriers.
3) The Heart – Jackie Robinson has a passion for social justice. He grew up in a fatherless home; but with God’s help and self-determination, he has established himself as a man of moral integrity, intelligence, talent and resolve. He will prove to be a dynamic influence, confronting racial prejudices in America with humility and grace. He willingly accepts the heat of racial prejudice, which God transforms into powerful energy of His love, truth and justice.
4) The Temptation – Ben Chapmen is used as the Enemy’s pawn to be the pinnacle of attacks directed toward Jackie Robinson. With his slanderous racial slurs, he spews the Enemy’s hate and aversion to anyone aggressively demonstrating God’s love and acceptance to His people. Jackie Robinson chooses not to fight back on the same low-blow level, and God is able to redeem the racial abuse by creating nationwide compassion for the cause of racial justice.
5) The Glory – Jackie Robinson acquires the respect and admiration of everyone around him, initiating a breakdown of preconceived racial stereotypes. Not only does He lead his team on a winning streak to the World Series, he leads America further on a winning path to racial equality. God’s glory is demonstrated through the lives of Jackie and Rachel Robinson, Branch Ricky, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the many others who took a stand of faith. Finally, a nation is changed and history is made. God’s glory shines!