All Is Lost begins at the end, with its sole character confessing,
“I’m sorry. I know that means little at this point, but I am. I tried. I think you would all agree that I tried. To be true, to be strong, to be kind, to love, to be right, but I wasn’t. All is lost. I’m sorry.”
The movie then rewinds eight days and we see the hardship and despair that leads him to that point.
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24-25
Although he is miraculously rescued in the final scene, there is a sense in which Redford’s character does die. He dies to his self-sufficiency. He dies to his ingenuity. He dies to any hope of being able to save himself. And this “death” is the very thing he needs to finally be transformed.
I’ve heard it said that we either change by revolution or by revelation. I think that’s true. Sometimes revelation stares us in the face, but we choose to ignore it. That’s when we need a revolution to shake us up – whether it be a shipwreck, a disease, a breakup, a bankruptcy, an arrest, or whatever.
Hardship has the unique ability to grab our attention when nothing else will. No doubt Jesus was trying to get through to Saul before the Damascus road experience, but he needed to be blinded before he could see.
It’s often the same with us. We think we’re on the right track and no one can convince us otherwise…that is, until our world is rocked and we finally see the light.
Revelation is less painful, but sometimes we need revolution if we’re really going to change.
Can you think of a time in your life when you needed a revolution to help you change?