We never know what God has planned for us. This is just one of the lessons at the center of the Pure Flix movie "Finding Normal," starring actress Candace Cameron Bure.
“Finding Normal” is about a big city doctor named Lisa Leland — played by Bure — who is faced with a tough choice after she gets pulled over by a small town cop while on a cross country journey to New York. She suddenly finds herself in legal trouble over too many unpaid parking tickets.
She either has to go to jail — or perform community service in the tiny town of Normal, North Carolina. Dr. Leland opts for community service, and soon learns what small town living is all about.
The movie has a number of powerful lessons for us all to consider (stream the movie right now with a free trial):
The first take-away is a pretty simple one: We can’t live like the rules don’t apply. Dr. Leland keeps ignoring her parking tickets — so much so that she ends up getting arrested. We all get busy, but we need to take care of the small things before they become bigger problems in our lives. It’s just common sense, but it’s easy to get lazy and to allow issues to magnify.
The second lesson: We never know what God has in store for us. Dr. Leland desperately wants to leave the town of Normal and make her way to New York. But Doc Shelby, who serves as the small town’s doctor, judge and minister told her, “Who knows, if you allow yourself you might just find you like it here?”
Sometimes, we’re like Dr. Leland. We assume we know what’s best, but sometimes God throws us some unexpected curveballs and when we fully trust in Him, we have absolutely no idea where He’ll take us. And if we do let Him take the lead, we’ll end up exactly where we’re supposed to be. Dr. Leland learns this firsthand.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
Our third lesson: Not everything is what it seems. At one point, we see Dr. Leland enter church as Doc Shelby is preaching an important sermon — one we all need. Doc Shelby said, “We need to go through and pluck away those things in our lives that initially look beautiful, but in the end just weigh us down.”
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There are so many situations we face — so many things in our lives — that we might crave or want. We assume these things will fulfill us. Whether it’s notoriety, money, success or some other thing we put our value in, it’s so easy to end up off-kilter and even miserable. Sometimes, even after we get what we want, we need to stop, pray and reassess.
Not everything is what it seems, and plucking away the things weighing us down — things that might initially seem wonderful but eventually prove otherwise — is essential to living the lives we’re meant to live.
Our fourth lesson: There are absolutely no coincidences. At one point in the film we see Dr. Leland saving a little girl who has an allergic reaction to a bee sting. While Leland calls the moment a “lucky coincidence,” another character proclaimed, “Oh, there’s no such thing as coincidence.” In our own lives, it’s worth remembering that God always has a plan. We might not always understand what God is doing, but we can trust that h=He has a plan for us all.
And last but not least: The cross holds the power to transform us. Dr. Leland noticed a big cross in town and asked character Lucas Craig why it’s there. His response is telling, as he said the cross is, “Making people stop and think.”
And that’s the power of the image of the cross, with the reality of the symbol reminding us of what Jesus did: dying for the sins of every human being who has lived and who will ever live. It’s the cross that reminds us of that essential truth, calling us to a relationship with our loving Creator.
Want more powerful lessons from "Finding Normal?" Stream the movie right now on Pure Flix with a free trial, and check out our Popular Christian Movie Guide (below) for more amazing TV shows and movies!