A Job Who Is Near Us

And sometimes you end up feeling like an idiot. To wit, you see a movie title like “A Job Who Is Near Us” and you think, “Huh, some kind of pidgin-y thing going on? Maybe reflecting an underclass struggling to get by or something.” And then you realize, as the opening quotes for the movie unfold, that it’s not “jaaaahb” but “johhhhhb”. Job.

As in The Book Of.

So you’ve just walked blind into a Christian inspirational film about a Korean man in his late ’30s who serves as a deacon in his church who discovers he has stage 4 cancer. Then his wife, who has just given birth to their first child, also has stage 4 cancer. Then his mother commits suicide. And then he beats the cancer, but it comes back.

And so on.

And through it all, what? Well, our deacon keeps his faith in God. With each recurrence of cancer, he doubles down, though the pain gets worse each time, and the prognosis as well. They start recording moments in his day-to-day life because he’s still going out, being inspirational and telling him he couldn’t get through this without his love for Jesus.

He really does change, as you might imagine. With each succeeding recurrence, he seems to be more at peace in a lot of ways. Not wanting to die, clearly, but increasingly more because he knows how hard it will be on his mother, and how much he wants to be there for his daughter.

Not gonna lie: Some parts of the theology made more sense to me than other parts. But when he’s on his deathbed (spoilers?) as all the people he inspired come to see him, and when he’s looking at his daughter blow out her third birthday candles, and when he’s telling his wife if he had to do it all over again, he would be better at loving her—well, there are no dry eyes in the house.

And it’s powerful to know that he’s in extreme pain but refusing morphine because he can’t understand the scripture when he’s on morphine.

It’s not a long movie but it’s a hard watch and I’m not sure whom I would recommend it to. But I was glad I had seen it.

How many times do you have to beat cancer?

Happiness is relative.

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