The former Sheriff, Ed Tom Bell, stares out to the fields through his kitchen window in the closing scene. He has just retired and speaks to his wife of two dreams that he had last night. Both dreams include his father. His father had apparently died young, and so any memory of him comes from the son who himself is an old man comparatively speaking, having outlived his father by 20 years or so.
In the first, he was given some money and he was suppose to meet up with his father downtown. The implication he makes is that the reunion never took place because he may have lost the money.
In the second dream, he and his father were riding horses through a valley on a cold winter night. It was dark and late and while the son was in the valley, he saw his dad ride past him and continue on ahead. It was clear that the dad was carrying fire in a horn. He could see the color of the fire, like the color of the moon. His dad didn’t say anything as he rode past. The son understood that his father was going to ride ahead of him, and soon, after the son journeyed on alone, he would meet up with his dad and he would have a warm fire prepared when he arrived. He continues riding on that cold night anticipating the place where they would stop and rest . . . but, the son reminisced, . . . he woke up.
“Headaches and bad faith
are all that I’ve got.
First I misplaced the ending
then I lost the plot.” from Newsboys, “Lost The Plot”
I believe that there are two types of loss being addressed in “No Country.”
There are several times of uncertainty that each of us endures. God seems absent, silent, invisible, and maybe even unconcerned. A second loss it the type that is compounded by evil. It’s not enough to have sorrow or tragedy, it is accompanied by what appears to be the triumph of evil.
These moments cause us to say more than, “God, where are you?!” They scream, “God, where are you, and why do tolerate the wicked?!”
Multiple faithless perspective follow closely behind. Thoughts such as “God is not strong enough,” God is not good,” or even “There is no God looking out for me.”
The people who hold fast to faith in an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, and all-good God, Scripture says, will not be disappointed. There are several times of disappointment in this “valley of the shadow of death,” but when the Lord sets up camp and lights His fire, we will be invited to share in the glow of it with Him.
I find it hard to imagine that anyone can see only the evil and not the good. The faithful, trust and then wonder. He is bringing about a kingdom. It will be a magnificent kingdom that looks nothing like the kingdoms here on earth. It will eclipse and overshadow any pain, trial, and tribulation being faced on this side of the great divide. Don’t be short-sighted. Don’t be faithless. There is no country here good enough for His elect. He will prepare a better place for us.
How does someone only look at the pain? Of course, if one does this, they will be discouraged. There will be no faith left in them. Although they knew God, they will not honor Him as God, and He will turn their hearts toward wickedness. They are not waiting for His return. They do not long for His battle, His sword, His fire. The wisdom from above is foolishness to them, and the kingdom that is coming cannot be shared with them.
Hold Fast, help is on the way!
Mercy Me “Hold Fast”
You may think you’re all alone
And there’s no way that anyone could know
What you’re going through
But if you only hear one thing
Just understand that we are all the same
Searching for the truth
The truth of what we’re soon to face
Unless someone comes to take our place
Is there anyone?
All we want is to be free
Free from our captivity, Lord
Here He comes
Help is on the way
He’s come to save the day
What I’ve learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is His grasp
So hold fast
Remember, the faithful trust and then wonder.
This always trumps its faithless opposite,
that of distrust and despair.