The Oscar-nominated film, Lion, based on the memoir A Long Way Home, tells the incredible and heart-wrenching true story of a young boy, Saroo Brierley, who was separated from his family in India at the age of five. After being picked up in the streets by an orphanage, Saroo was adopted by a loving Australian couple. The movie takes you on Saroo’s journey to find his roots, but throughout the movie, his adoptive mother, Sue Brierley (played by Nicole Kidman), plays a pivotal part in his journey. As a real-life adoptive mother herself, Kidman signed on to depict Saroo’s mother with raw emotion, telling one news source that “This movie was a love letter to my children.” The more her character is revealed, the more you come to realize that this movie can act as a love letter to all of us. 

Soon after the Brierleys adopt Saroo and bring him home to Australia, Sue places him in his new bed and gently whispers, “Someday you’ll tell me your story” to her sleeping boy. The Brierleys eventually adopt another Indian boy who happened to be severely troubled, and years later, when Saroo is a young adult, he has a conversation with Sue where he says he’s sorry she couldn’t have her own kids because he and his brother weren’t “blank pages” like her own children would have been. He says, “You weren’t just adopting us but our past as well.” To Saroo’s surprise, Sue responds, without any tone of bitterness, that she and her husband were able to have their own kids, but they made a choice to adopt instead: “We wanted the two of you in our lives. That’s what we chose.” 

What Saroo didn’t understand as he began to search for his biological family behind her back, was that Sue knew he would have a story to tell her—a past to work through—and she chose him anyway. She willingly adopted the boys knowing they weren’t blank pages and left the door open for them to explore their pasts whenever they were ready. 

This movie becomes a love letter to us when we realize that God does that for us as well. He rescues us from the streets of depravity—lost, hungry, and afraid—adopts us into His family and takes us as His very own, knowing full-well each of us has a past. Like Saroo, we may worry that our past puts us in an awkward place with the Lord or hurts Him if we need to work through it. Sue’s unwavering love reminds us of God’s unconditional love and sacrifice by choosing us to be part of His family. 

 

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” 

Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) 

 

The Intersection focuses on the link between faith and pop culture and is featured monthly in Gateway Life magazine.