My husband and I recently saw the movie, Devotion, the inspirational true story of Jesse Brown, the first Black aviator in U.S. Navy history, and his enduring friendship with fellow fighter pilot Tom Hudner. Helping to turn the tide in the most brutal battle in the Korean War, their heroic sacrifices ultimately make them the Navy’s most celebrated wingmen.
Warning – spoiler alert! In order to share the important message of the movie, you will need to knows the ending. This won’t ruin the movie for you, though, I promise.
Despite Jesse’s tough outer shell of protection, Jesse and Tom became close friends. When they are called to duty, Jesse’s wife asked Tom to “be there” for her husband. He promises her he will.
Both are excellent pilots and take their role seriously. Both are patriotic and are fighting for their country. During an intense battle, they are told to retreat. Jesse ignores the orders and goes back to finish the mission of destroying a railroad line. He is hit and crash lands. Tom is told they can’t help Jesse because he is in enemy territory, of which the American people didn’t even know we were even engaged!
Tom made a promise, and he disregards orders and intentionally crashes his airplane to save Jesse. Unfortunately, Jesse is trapped in the plane, and they get him out. It’s an emotional scene, and you can see the torment on Tom’s face. He made a promise! Jesse dies in his arms.
Tom is rescued, but they must leave Jesse behind. The death of his friend haunts him. Worse, he broke a promise. Fast forward to the time in history when Jesse is finally brought home. Tom apologizes to Jesse’s wife. “I couldn’t save him,” he says through tears. What she says is the crux of the entire movie: “That wasn’t your job. I asked you to be there for him, and you were.”
You see, only Jesus can save people. None of us has that kind of power. What we can do, as Tom did, is “be there.” We never know what small act of kindness is what softens someone’s heart. Just being there during a difficult time in a person’s life can be monumental. Being there for someone is simple yet complicated as it requires us to push aside our own conveniences, schedule, and plans.
Tom sustained injuries and torment from his act of devoted love, but he did it anyway. I love that the movie title is “devotion” as this is the call of every one of us: to be devoted to God and to each other. We are often instruments of God, and when He asks you to be there, BE THERE! God will always be there for you.
This is Christmas week, and what better gift than of your time, attention, devotion, and love. May you feel God’s devotion to you, and with great joy, want to share His love with others!