Batman Begins was a movie about falling to or mastering one's own fear. Dark Knight was about justice and morality from the common folk on the street to the politicians we idolize and how even great men can fall. Dark Knight Rises picks up right there with an absent Batman and a devastated Bruce Wayne. It is a movie about rising out of the ashes and not letting anything keep us down.
Batman really takes some hard falls in this movie. Just when you think things can't get worse. . . they do again and again. When the movie starts, he is out of shape, has a bum leg, and is an emotional wreck over the loss of his love, Rachel. His company is failing because he sunk its money into a supposedly failed clean energy project. On top of all of that, the people of Gotham hate Batman for the killing spree pinned on him in the last movie.
But come on, he's Batman! He picks himself up, does some push-ups, gets a fancy knee brace, puts on the Batsuit, and jumps back into the action. He even picks up a sidekick in Catwoman. There's nothing to it. Right?
The man is completely and utterly defeated. He is left in a pit in what most of us would consider a hopeless situation. In fact, hope itself is what taunts him in the form of sunlight pouring down from the only way to escape the pit he is in. But everyone tells him its a futile hope. No one can escape. Give up.
Have you ever been down in the dumps? Have you ever been discouraged? Have you ever been so beaten that you were left with only the tiniest shred of hope that things would get better? Have you ever just plain run out of hope? Maybe you were living a lie and got caught and it seemed impossible to fix the broken relationships in your life. Maybe you went through a really rough break up. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you lost someone you loved in tragedy. You're not alone.
All throughout the Bible we find people who are completely distraught and hopeless. People that have hit rock bottom. Job prays that he was never born. Elijah thinks the best thing that could happen to him is death. Jonah is literally in the belly of some monster of a fish and felt his life ebbing away from him. David was told he would be King and was sorely disappointed when King Saul spent years hunting him down wherever he went. While David was running for his life in the wilderness, he cries out to God in His pain and frustration. Listen to what he said.
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. -- Psalm 22:11-15
That about sums up the feeling. Hopelessness. And here comes my gripe with the latest Batman movie. It all goes away magically and somewhat inexplicably for Batman. Broken back? A scruffy prison doctor punches his spine and tells him to hold a rope. Problem solved. Stuck in a pit? Just jump out after recovering from a major injury. Nothing to it. Betrayed by your sidekick? Give her a second chance, I'm sure she'll be there when you need her this time. Broke and stuck in the Middle East with no way back to Gotham? You'll figure something out. I mean come, he's Batman!
Unfortunately, the rest of us aren't. We're not Batman. We can't pull ourselves out of our own depressions and the worst moments of our lives by our own boot straps. We can't put our hope in ourselves. So where do us normal guys and gals, us non-superheroes, us mere mortals turn for hope? Or are we hopeless? Here's what David said.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. -- Psalm 37:7-11
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame... -- Psalm 25:1-3a
We all hit rock bottom sometimes. Maybe its not as extreme or extravagant as Bruce Wayne, but we go through our fair share of struggles and hardships. When hope is a faint memory, its time to turn your eyes back to God. He is our great hope. No problem is so big He can't handle it. No guilt is too great that He can't cleanse you of it. No mess is too big for Him to clean it up. God is our great hope.
In fact, God has already rescued us out of the most hopeless of all tragedies: our sin. God took on flesh and became the man Jesus to pay for all of our sins on the cross. Three days later, Jesus rose from death to prove He had conquered Satan, sin, and death. God is the master of providing hope for the hopeless!
In hard times, turn to Him. Turn to His Word. Turn to prayer. Turn to Jesus for salvation. Turn to His church to be the family of God in your life and support you through your trouble. You're not Batman. You can't pull it together on your own. But there is hope. Hope in God and you will not be put to shame.