Hunger Games

Hunger Games. It's all the craze right now. This week my husband and I went to see it. I wouldn't say I am caught up in the craze but being that we work with teenagers and they are caught up in it, we decided to go see the movie. I don't really want to do a "movie review" as it were, but rather, I want to share my own insight into the story. I haven't read the books so my thoughts are only from seeing the movie. If you aren't familiar with the movie or the books all you have to do is type "Hunger Games" in Google and you will see all the information you could want!!

I tend to be that person that looks for God in every aspect of my life, even movie watching. The author of the books makes no secret that she wrote these books as a sort of "what if" about our very own country. The story is in futuristic America where the government is in complete control of every aspect of life. The country was split into districts after the "uprising" (war) years before. The districts are split according to social class. The story centers around Katniss, the girl from district 12, the poorest, "worst" district. The story centers around the games that happen once a year at the Capitol City where one boy and one girl from each district are selected at random to go and fight in the "Hunger Games". The philosophy of the government is to do this every year to remind the people of the past and to ensure they stay "controlled". All twenty four are young people ranging from 11-18 years old and they have to fight until only one is left alive.

This story is written as a science fiction fantasy, but as I watched, I couldn't help thinking it depicted very accurately the reality of human nature...and human history. It is indeed discomforting to think of my flesh as being so capable of such evil, but history proves that it is. The first century church was persecuted in this exact way by Rome. Men, women and even children were thrown into arenas with lions and mauled to death while people roared and cheered in the stands. They were killed for their belief. Of course, we are out of touch with that part of history because it happened so long ago. It does at times seem to be a story of fiction rather than reality but it is not fiction. It is very much a reality. Then there is the reality of the Holocaust which happened some sixty years ago. Six million people were eradicated because of where they came from. I have seen the camps with my own eyes, seen the shoes of those killed piled to a height of ten feet as a memorial to them. Some of those shoes represented children, the same ages of my girls. Some of those shoes represent grandma's and grandpa's. I have walked past the graves of thousands and my stomach has knotted in my throat because I cannot believe what evil we as humans are capable of.

No, this story does not represent fantasy, it represents reality. The reality that we as humans have always attempted to dehumanize each other, to destroy the heart and soul of each other. Of course, we know who it as work in us that creates such darkness. The enemy is real. He is every bit as dark as God is light. He has been infiltrating humanity since the garden with pride and arrogance. Sometimes, I think we forget just how much God overcomes in us. Sometimes, I am guilty of assuming that I would never "be like that". Oh, God, forgive me for ever thinking that. My flesh is no different than that of the darkest darkness I have seen in this world. How much grace and mercy God offers us! What a miracle he works in us! Yes, I very much felt a stirring in my heart as I watched this movie because I was faced once again with my own flesh...and I wanted to turn my head the other way.

My favorite line in the movie was quoted by the President of the Capital City. He is trying to explain to the director of the Games that this Katniss girl is offering her people too much hope. "Hope is far more dangerous than fear" he says. How true that is! Why else would Christians have been willing to go to an arena that sentenced them to death? They had hope. Their hope was stronger than their fear. I have never faced anything that required so much courage as that, but I like to think that if I did, hope would swell in my heart so big that fear would be secondary. Hope for what I know to be true. In the movie, Katniss is filled with more hope than courage. She doesn't want to be where she is, fighting, but her hope pushes her forward. She has hope for her little sister, her mother, her people. When hope catches the human heart, it indeed becomes a flame.

Persecution of the people exists today just as it has all throughout history. Today, somewhere in the world, someone is being punished for having hope. Hope in Jesus. They are being tortured, starved, murdered, for having hope. We live in a country that doesn't care if we have hope...but it will not be that way forever my friend. God's word tells us that before the earth is "rolled up like a scroll" the evil one will attempt to destroy the flame of hope in all of humanity. "Take heart!" God says. "I have overcome the world"! The darkness of fear can never destroy the light of hope. May that hope burn ever bright in the hearts of those who live in Jesus.

Is this blog a little "heavy"? Maybe so. Heavy is not always bad though. Heavy can be a reality check sometimes. Heavy can be the key to change. Heavy can be the thing that sends us to our knees before the God who offers unending mercy. I must say, I walked away from that movie speechless before my God because I cannot believe how much evil he really does me. History does indeed repeat itself. Mankind will fight this battle of the flesh until the day we stand before God, returned to the perfection he intended. My prayer is that I will always find myself on my knees before Jesus with hands lifted, remembering that if not for him, I would be on the side lines, watching others being destroyed..and not minding one bit. May we find the grace to offer hope always, no matter how much fear exists knowing that this hope we offer is light and darkness never overcomes light...never.

"Oh! May the God of hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! Romans 15:13 (msg)


  1. Shannon, you captured an aspect of the Hunger Games very few have voiced. Thank you for your thoughtful considerations. BTW: That line wasn't in the book. The exchange between Snow and the game maker was one of the few bonuses of the movie. Otherwise, the books were far batter. I'm reading The Girl Who Was On Fire, by Leah Wilson. It is a collection of short essays for a variety of authors discussing different themes in the trilogy. It has been really good, if you are interested.


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