Zero Dark Thirty – Review
“You really believe this?”
“What convinced you?”
Maya was recruited by the CIA out of high school. She had been with the bureau for more than a decade, and all she had done was hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Even when the rest of the world assumed he was either dead or at least out of the pertinent picture, even when her superiors tried to assign her to other, more pressing matters (to their way of thinking, at least), Maya held on like a pit-bull, insisting that he was still alive and was still the key to current terrorism. It wasn’t a popular opinion, particularly, but her conviction was unwavering.
It’s a fascinating story, but more fascinating than the story is Maya herself. Several things about her really stand out. One is her complete commitment to getting rid of Bin Laden as the head of terrorist activities. She would not rest until he was found and stopped. Her hunt for him consumed her life for over a decade. She was so committed to stopping Bin Laden that she would not be dissuaded, not by time, not by rumors that he was dead, not by other pressing needs, not even by her superiors or reassignment. She was committed, with all her life to this.
Driving her commitment, and equally impressive, was her passion. After they located the compound where she believed Bin Laden was hiding, her superiors wanted proof he was there before they acted. Surveillance was a long, slow and inconclusive process, during which Maya went daily to her boss’s office and fiercely wrote on his glass window a count of days – how many days it had been that nothing had happened. She did it every day…with fury. It was comical in the movie, but no doubt it was annoying. The thing that was impressive though was how her passion never slated, not after a decade, not after days and months of watching and waiting, not when every one else’s passion had abated. The complacency of others only stirred her passion even more.
Maya was right. Her dedication and commitment paid off. She was right about it all. She was right that Bin Laden was still alive. She was right that he was still the leader behind terrorist activities. She was also right about where he was living. Not only was she right about it, but she was so completely confident about it, that her confidence and conviction inspired others to act. Two Navy Seals were discussing the possibility of the mission to the compound where Maya said Bin Laden was hiding. “You really believe this?” one asked the other. “Yeah,” he replied. “What convinced you?” the first asked again. “Her confidence.” Her confidence also inspired the U.S. Government to act on the intelligence. Before talking with the President, the head of the CIA wanted to know how sure they were that Bin Laden was in that house. All the other advisors were weighing in at about 60-80% sure. Maya however, the lowest on the advisory totem pole, spoke up. “100% he’s there. OK, 95% because I know certainty freaks you guys out, but it’s 100% he’s there.” She was so confident that she was right, she was willing to put everything on it.
As I watched Maya I was challenged to think about my own life, and the lives of Christians around me. Do I have the same weighty conviction about the fact that there is an enemy out there in the world…a liar and a deceiver who has every intention and works with all of his being to steal, kill and destroy? Maya had good reason to doubt the reality of her enemy. We do not. He may be working subtly; he may be in hiding, but we have the Bible which tells us of his existence and his purposes. We have no excuse for doubting his existence, or the depths of his evilness.
I also had to ask myself if I’ve ever been passionate about anything the way Maya was about finding Bin Laden. Has anything ever captured me so fully that I would dedicate my life to it? A better question to ask, actually, is what would be worth that kind of passionate pursuit? If I, as a Christian, say that God is worth giving my life to, then shouldn’t my pursuit of Him look about as obsessive and passionate as Maya’s pursuit of Bin Laden? Are others convinced God is real because of my confidence? Is my passion for God is such that it stirs others to action? Am I so committed that nothing can distract me?
I know Maya was pursuing a great evil, but what if she was pursuing God with that same conviction and passion and commitment? What if WE pursued God with the conviction, passion and commitment that Maya had; how might that change our lives and the world around us? As it was, Maya changed the world. Can you imagine how God might change the world through us if we pursued him in that way? Now that is a movie I should love to see.
(Questions for Discussion are included in above two paragraphs.)
By Stacey Tuttle