Reviewed by: Angela Bowman
Love Comes Softly (2003)
Love’s Enduring Promise (2004)
Love’s Long Journey (2005)
Love’s Undending Legacy (2007)
Love’s Unfolding Dream (2007)
What is faith?
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
What about the Psalm 91 promises? (“…no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent…”) Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
|Featuring||Stephen Bridgewater, Brianna Brown, Erin Cottrell, Kevin Gage, John Laughlin, Madison Leisle, Dale Midkiff, William Morgan Sheppard, Thomas Stanley, James Tupper|
|Director||Michael Landon, Jr.|
|Producer||Amy Goldberg, Brian Gordon, Nick Lombardo|
|Distributor||FoxFaith and The Bigger Picture|
This is the fourth installment of Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series. The previous three films (“Love Comes Softly,” “Love's Enduring Promise” and “Love’s Long Journey”) were television releases by the Hallmark Channel and are available on VHS and DVD. “Love’s Abiding Joy” follows Missie (Erin Cottrell) and Willie (Logan Bartholomew) Lahaye and their struggles with the difficulties life has for them as they try to establish themselves as ranchers during a drought and as a family in the midst of death.
First of all, I have to say that because of the typical theater-released movies, I rarely ever go to the theater, even though I really do enjoy it. So I was glad that this movie was released in a theater for that very reason: It gave me a good excuse to go to the theater. That being said, and that the other three were made for television, there was nothing in this film that was better than any of the others, and it still has that “made-for-tv” look and feel to it. Still, even though I feel the first two movies were the best, I enjoyed this one as well as I did “Love’s Long Journey.” It is a little slow-moving and on the melancholy side, so it is not what you want to see if you need to be cheered up, but it has a lot to offer in teaching Christian principles and portraying real people dealing with life.
I really liked how it portrayed Missie Lahaye struggling in her faith. As a young inexperienced woman, forced to deal with the sudden death of her daughter, she isolates herself from her family, society and from God. We watch as she slowly learns to get through this period of anger, guilt and loss, to let her father, husband and God help her cope and move forward.
I think it is so important as Christians to understand that it is fine for us to be angry, even with God. He loves us so much, and He knows that we are not perfect, and we cannot understand or always be strong in trials, that is why we have Him. If we are just honest with Him and with ourselves, I believe He will help us to go through the emotions—which is better than holding them in and letting them fester. My favorite scriptures in dealing with difficult times are always The Psalms, David pours out his heart and feelings—following it with God’s love, compassion and care. In Psalm 4, he begins by saying “…Give me relief from my distress…” and ends it by saying “…I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (NIV).
Missie’s father (Dale Midkiff), while also grieved by their loss, is older and stronger in his faith and shows us a great example of a mature Christian. He has already gone through hardships, is steadfast and determined to help his daughter through this time, not letting her rejection dissuade him. The timing of his visit was not a coincidence either.
While Missie is grieving at home, her husband has to find another job to support his family. He is pressed into the position of Sheriff, working under Judge Sam Dorose, who has gained his wealth by taking advantage of less fortunate people who are suffering from the drought, forcing Willie to go against his friends and neighbors. To further complicate matters, the daughter of Judge Dorose becomes attached to the adopted son of Missie and Willie Lahaye, and when Judge Dorose finds out, he does what he can to cause further trouble for the Lahaye family.
Overall, this is a good movie. The acting is decent, the film quality is decent, there is no foul language of any kind, and dress is completely modest. There is one short scene of the teenagers kissing, however, it is not very graphic or sensual. There is no real violence; however, there are guns, as with any western. This filmis appropriate for the entire family.
As an added bonus, the “Love’s Abiding Joy” Web site by FoxFaith has downloads that include a discussion page and movie clips. While these are intended for Sunday school or church groups, your family could use them at home as well. The material contains lessons that coincide with elements from the film, as well as corresponding scriptures to read. (See: foxfaithmovies.com/lovesabidingjoy)
Violence: None / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See review of the sequel to this film: Love’s Undending Legacy
Interview with producer Michael Landon Jr.