Posé: A pause or rest stop along the Voyageurs' portage trail. Usually about ½ mile apart. We invite you to take a pause in your day to reflect and pray with us.  

Exodus 16:11-12

The LORD spoke to Moses and said; "I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'"

For me and all of my fellow Saturday morning cartoon enthusiasts, former or current, there came a sad day in each of our young lives when we realized that there was no chance that we would grow up to become radioactive vigilante crimefighters.  After some moping, I accepted this fact and agreed that I could still save the world while  pursuing a more realistic career, like being a scientist.

Or a space pirate.

Both my adult self and my inner child were extremely excited for the recent release of "The Martian," a movie not about superheroes per se, but which tells a story of hundreds of people putting forth superhuman efforts for a single act of good.  In the film, astronaut Mark Watney is left stranded on Mars after a series of unforeseeable events forces his crew to evacuate without him.

(If you would like to avoid spoilers, I would encourage you to read or watch "The Martian" before you continue reading!)

Watney's situation parallels many biblical scenarios in which a person or group was left stranded in a hostile environment, in particular, the Exodus story.  Moses and the Israelites wandered the desert for decades before entering into the promised land.  Similarly, Mark Watney spends almost two years being completely alone on a barren, inhospitable planet.

During the period of the wandering after the Exodus, the Israelites were left without food or water. The LORD answers their prayers and sustains them by providing manna from heaven and water from a rock.  In a slightly more sacrilegious manner, the LORD also feeds Watney.  Watney uses a wooden crucifix, the only piece of flammable material on the planet, to maintain a small flame that he uses to produce water, hydrate soil, and grow a crop of potatoes.  Without the help of God, both the Israelites and Watney would be doomed to starve.  These stories both serve as reminders to us that God provides, in both obvious and subtle ways, in all of our day-to-day lives and that we should be mindful of his presence.

We are also reminded to be joyful in his presence.  One of the defining aspects of Mark Watney's character is that he is both a realist and an optimist.  He realizes that he is likely doomed to die on a strange planet, but he retains a positive attitude and is grateful for what he has.  In the end, what he has is enough to save his life.  Most importantly, Watney never blames his crew for his situation. While winters in this part of the country may make it feel like we are trapped on a lifeless planet, many of us are fortunate enough that we do not have to worry about surviving until the spring thaw. However, almost all of us are tempted to complain about wind chills and icy roads, both "The Martian" and the Bible remind us that our lives will inevitably involve struggle, but we should still rejoice for what we have and let go of our complaints, especially those complaints towards God.

God's call to us is to be thankful and rejoice for what we have at all times and in all places, whether we are astronauts or ordinary people.

-Steve Sorenson

VLM Guide and wannabe Space Pirate

Madison, WI