Though the film is called Miracles from Heaven, the miracle doesn’t happen until the end. The majority of the movie, and the strength of it, is the story of a mother fighting like crazy to get help for her sick child. Jennifer Garner was compelling as Christy Beam and her journey of losing her faith and getting it back again felt authentic. For me, that’s where the heart of the story laid. The part where Annabel said she saw heaven wasn’t the central story, like in Heaven is for Real or 90 Minutes in Heaven.
Though some have criticized the film for being too neat and tidy or too preachy or not deep enough or theologically simplistic, I thought the film did a good job raising questions and condemning that kind of false teaching.
The film directly condemns those who suggest that this kind of sickness is a result of sin in someone’s life and that if you just cleaned up your act, God would take the suffering away. The film didn’t give the impression that if just pray enough or have enough faith, your child will be miraculously healed. It simply told the story of a time that it did happen.
And it doesn’t pretend to have all the answers.
In Christy’s closing speech, she says, “I don’t know why Annie was healed while thousands of other children are still suffering.” When Christy asks the pastor of their church why a loving God would let a child suffer like this, he admits he doesn’t have an answer for that. Though it does have a happy ending, this isn’t a film that shies away from the tough questions.
Christy doesn’t ‘receive’ her daughter’s healing as a ‘reward’ for faith or good Christian behavior. It’s something that happened right in the middle of her doubting and her pain and her struggle, and it is what led her back.
As amazing as the miracle was…. “You’re telling me that when this baby girl fell 30 feet, she hit her head just right and it didn’t kill her and it paralyze her? It healed her?”… to me this story isn’t about the miracle. It’s about the struggle. The struggle of a mom who can’t fix what’s wrong with her child. The struggle to understand why bad things happen to good people. The struggle to keep it together when the whole world is falling apart. The struggle to have faith when we can’t see or hear God.
The miracle was a nice happy ending. But where I saw myself was in the struggle. That’s what touched my heart. That’s what made me say, “Bring tissues.”