The Power Of Humility


Humility: The Gift Which Helps Wounded Soul Find Peace

by Eric Elkin

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”
— Job 38:4

I wonder if author, Winston Groom, had the biblical character Job in mind when he was crafting Lieutenant Dan Taylor as a character in his novel, Forrest Gump. Lieutenant Dan is a man with a destiny. Unlike Job, his destiny was actually death not life. He lived to die on the battlefield, like a member of his family did in every American war ever fought.

Forrest Gump interrupts the destiny. He saves the Lieutenant Dan, but in saving him, leaves him crippled. The rescued lieutenant is left without the bottom half of his two legs. But his real lasting wound was the loss of glory, honor and pride. Lieutenant Dan thinks, like Job, it would have been better to die than to suffer. 

Lieutenant Dan drifts in and out of the movie. Each time, though, his character expresses anger and an ongoing argument with God. A priest tells him God is listening and if he finds Jesus he will walk with the Lord in heaven. Lieutenant Dan scoffs at the idea God is listening. Yet, he continues to pursue God in conversation.

Finally, the lieutenant gets the missing part of the conversation he’s long desired, a response from God. After another failed attempt to find shrimp, Lieutenant Dan says, “Where the Hell is this God of yours?” The words were no sooner out of his mouth than God showed up in the form of a hurricane. 

As the boat is tossed about in a violent wind, Lieutenant Dan remains tied into the top of a mast. He spends the entire storm screaming at God, challenging God and questioning the power of God. When the storm is done, we meet a different Lieutenant Dan. He is calm and looks at Forest Gump and says, “I never thanked you for saving my life.” The peace seems to come in the form of humility.

A proud [person] is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.
— C.S. Lewis

People often expound on the creative powers of human beings. We speak of our ability to build, develop, create and sustain. The wonder of human ingenuity is so overwhelming, it leaves many wondering why would you even need something as foolish as a God. Then a hurricane hits a coastline and leaves a whole state devastated by the destruction, and all human power is brought to its knees.

I’m not trying to suggest in any way a hurricane as punishment for lack of belief. What I am saying is the forces of nature should cause us to be more humble about our abilities and pride. Being able to describe a world and manipulate it, is not the same as creating one.

Humility is a subtle gift often taken for granted. The humble seek to live in harmony with creation and its creatures. Those who try to live in harmony discover gratitude and by finding gratitude discover life and peace.


Click to read Job 38: 1-7

Reflection Questions:

  • In what do you feel a sense of pride?

  • How would you respond if your source pride was taken away?

  • When has God’s silence led you to believe God does not listen?

  • When have you experienced a sense of humility?

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