Did you ever see the 1998 movie The Truman Show, where Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank? He was the first unwanted child to be adopted by a corporation. He is placed in a make-believe world, where the entire town is dedicated to a continually running TV show. They are all actors except Truman, and for him it is real.
Everything about his life is staged. But at one point in the show, a girl that he met in college, deviated from her script and tried to explain to Truman the true nature of his life. Of course, the producers got to her before she could do that, but the seed had been sown and it resonated with something deep within Truman—that there had to be more to life than what he knew.
Truman experiences a gradual awakening, a quest for the truth, and the need to break out of his box. It’s a very unusual movie, (I recall seeing it on TV one night) and he encounters many obstacles in his way—traffic jams, the inability to book airline flights out and when he buys a bus ticket the bus breaks down. In the final scene he overcomes his fear of water and sails against an artificially constructed hurricane force storm on the ‘ocean’—which of course is not really an ocean. When he finally reaches the edge of his world he exits via a door in the wall to the thrill of the television audience and discovers a whole new world.
It’s a very interesting movie, because Truman finally realises he was set up. He was trapped in an unreal world since birth; he was in a fake world. He was being lied to and everyone in the world was watching him. But he discovered it was all pretence and all he wanted was a bit of reality.
Many people today are content to live in their artificially created and constructed worlds. It’s almost like they’re in a make-believe world of their own, and avoid asking themselves the hard questions about life and their place in the world or they just take everything for granted.
Like the man who operated a little bait-and-tackle shop near the ocean. He had a large window looking out to the ocean and the view was simply breathtaking. The man who owned and managed the shop was working on a fishing reel with his back to the window when a customer entered. The customer took one look through the window, Wow, you have the most beautiful view in the world. The owner of the shop, with his back to the window, never bothered to look around. He sort of grumbled, I’ve seen it so often, that I never bother to look anymore. Sounds familiar? Do we need to take a fresh look at life and ask ourselves, Am I really living, or am I just pretending?
The Truth that Sets You Free
When talking of the The Truman Show, actor Jim Carrey said, “The thing I find important about the film is the point, if you’re not happy with your life, it’s time to go into the unknown. That’s where you really get rewarded, when you separate yourself from others’ wishes and follow your own heart.”
That’s quite a fair statement. But I prefer what another ‘JC’ said—Jesus Christ. He said in John 8:31-32 (MSG): “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth and the truth will set you free.” Moving out into the unknown can be scary, and does have its risks. But isn’t it better than living a fake life when everything is predictable and unreal? I know a few people who have been hurt in life and are afraid to take any risks. They don’t want to risk being hurt again.
There’s a story about a young man hired to work in a coal mine. When they gave him his equipment, they told him: “Make sure you have an extra battery, so that your light will never fail.” They were talking about the light on his miner’s hat. “But I have a question,” said the young man. “My light seems dim. It only shines for a couple of feet in front of me. If I’m underground in the dark, I can’t see what’s ahead in the tunnels. I can’t see anything except what’s right here in front of me.” “Don’t worry,” they told him. “If you have any light at all, you can see well enough to take one step. So take that one step confidently. And then there will be light for another step.”
How true it is that with God’s help we can walk into the unknown, and face realities as they come. There’s no need to live like Truman in a make-believe world—we can face life as it is, asking for God’s help and guidance.
Job 10:12 (ESV) says, “You have granted me life and steadfast love”. And that is a tremendous prayer to have. Like Psalm 103:2 (CEV): “With all my heart I praise the Lord. I will never forget how kind he has been”.