BoatDespair isn’t unique to sailors. Every one of us is susceptible to despair. Perhaps we’ve lost a loved one. We can’t find a job. We see our children suffer or go astray. We watch as the loves of our life are pulled inexorably away from us. We try to fight through it, but it can be so hard sometimes. We can feel as if we too are lost at sea. Alone. Powerless. Destined to float, aimless, forever.

Like Redford, all of us fight against that kind of despair, and our will to survive is often unbelievable, even inspirational. We do everything we can to live. And though All Is Lost does not specifically portray the typical Christian movie, there’s something profoundly spiritual. In the end, we need a hand from above. All of us need help. At some point, someone has to reach down and pull us from our isolation.

Most Christians believe that Redford’s saving hand was ultimately God’s. But for most of us, God often comes from those around us. Even though I survived for many years, you saved me – saved me from the continued solitary journey of life. Through your efforts, I now don’t have to live life alone. All of us must be part of the community. We need friends and family to pick us up when we’re down—sometimes literally.

Like most we encounter in life, we know little about the character. We deduce Redford was an American, male, affluent enough to undertake ocean voyage, and that he had loved ones ashore. But most of us simply don’t bother knowing the homeless dude in a back alley, the family down the street, the kid serving latte’s at Starbucks, the mail clerk, our car mechanic or sadly … even our spouse or children. And most will wander through life not caring at all.

In the end, the conversation for all of us is that final thought of acceptance, that internal conversation with our creator. Redford’s character strove for artificially created search for authenticity and challenge. It’s something all of us strive for, finding that meaningful life walk is extremely tough. But at the end of life, it’s God and you who start writing your own ending. There will be no cries of “Why me?”, “No, God!

In the end, God will extend His hand and lift us upward.

Thy sea, O God, so great,
My boat so small.
~ Old Breton Prayer ~