God doesn’t waste anything. Humans waste a lot of things. Just look at our landfills and literal islands of garbage floating in the oceans.
BY SPENCER T. FOLMAR
But God, He doesn’t waste anything, especially our stories.
Despite all of the devastating effects of the fall of mankind and the curse of sin on all facets of life and creation, God is still managing, dictating, and perfectly planning our paths. The Puritans had a saying that, “God uses sin sinlessly.” And if God can use sin sinlessly, he must be able to use all things in my life, too.
I am a filmmaker and an artist, but most times, I feel like I waste more than I create. I find this reality most especially true when I look back on the many random, sad, and sometimes bizarre twists and turns in my own life’s trajectory.
One day, I want to ask God so many “Why?” questions. Why, Lord, did that happen? Why was I in that relationship for years just to see it fall apart? Why did I do that? Lord, why did you let that happen to me? Why did I move to that state… that country?
A “Why?” question I ponder a lot is about the path of my education. In fact, my academic career is a complex conversation. I went to an undergraduate school that didn’t have a proper film degree but had a well-rounded liberal arts communication studies program. I attended four film schools in total, including New York University Tisch School of the Arts for my MFA in Film. I worked at a Psychology school filming classes and counseling sessions for a few years, and also attended an informal Bible school overseas. I eventually went on to earn a Masters of Theology at seminary. Why?
Some days I look back on my life and think that my life is a giant, pointless mess. But when I have more clarity and take a moment to live in the present, I pray that maybe there is a point to all of this randomness. On my very best days, the Lord gives me great grace in seeing how He may have been organizing my life in an intricate and perfect plan after all. Maybe too, just maybe, my life is only a thread of the great tapestry of life and of God’s plan of redemption.
It’s an overwhelming and fearful thing to try and make sense of all the events of a life. There is a lot of failure, brokenness, and utter darkness that is tough to reconcile with the character of God. What do I do with the parts of my life that I’m still waiting to see how God might use for someone else’s good or even my own good? My choice is to face the confusion and doubts with faith.
Maybe yet, there is still much more that God is doing through my life than I am even close to understanding. Maybe, all that education is being interwoven into my screenplays, attempting to speak honestly about God and the struggle of faith. Perhaps, all my scars and brokenness will be used to help me be more empathetic to others and have more grace to my brothers and sisters. That is my prayer, Lord.
I find the lyrics of Sufjan Steven’s Vito’s Ordination Song comforting for this subject:
“There’s a design
To what I did and said
Rest in my arms,
Sleep in my bed,
There’s a design.”
Director Spencer T. Folmar’s theatrical debut, “Generational Sins,” has spurred a national debate surrounding the interplay of faith and film. Folmar coined the term “Hard Faith” to describe this new genre of film, written for audiences who are hungry for hope in the midst of gritty real-life stories. Folmar’s films are now released under his Los Angeles production company Hard Faith Films, which is currently developing several projects that will reflect today’s multifaceted culture and audience.