Before we begin: I never wanted to be the guy to rope pop culture to God’s truth because sometimes it’s really awkward at best, and really lame at worst. However, as I have been an avid fan of the series and the graphic novels, I cannot help but see so many themes tied into “The Walking Dead” that are spoken of in the Bible. If this does end up being cheesy to you, no harm – don’t read, but my prayer is that God will take something that so many people are invested in and show us just how much His love, word, and truth permeate even the most seemingly far-off reaches of humanity; even in a TV show; even through zombies. I hope you enjoy.
In the pilot episode of “The Walking Dead” we’re introduced to Rick Grimes. He’s a small-town sheriff’s deputy with everyday problems. His marriage isn’t that great, he works too much for too little, he has a close friend and partner (Shane), and he’s got a son to care for.
We’re transported into a hospital room obviously after Rick has been shot. Rick has been in a coma, but now he’s suddenly awake. He gets out of the bed but is tethered by IV’s and oxygen tubing…he rips them off and falls to the floor. He hasn’t walked in months. He calls for the nurse, but no one answers. Rick fights to his feet and then stumbles about his room and to the door.
He opens the door to find a hospital that is completely devoid of anything except flickering emergency lights that dot the dark hallway. The walls are pock-marked with bullets and splattered in blood. He tries the phone. Nothing. He tries the lights. No can do. So he stumbles outside to the horrifying reality: Something is terribly wrong.
White body bags line the parking lot of the hallway. On the hill adjacent to the hospital a military chopper sits, surrounded by bodies and black body bags.
The world is quiet – no traffic, no obnoxious people talking to loud, no cell phones…just… silence. He grabs an abandoned bicycle and jets home in his hospital gown to find his house empty – abandoned. The whole neighborhood is lifeless. Actually, the whole city is deserted. He falls to the floor shouting, “Lori!?! Carl?!?” He begins to scream their names and tear through the house – he is answered only by the wind.
He falls to the floor in the fetal position screaming his wife and son’s names and then he shoots upright. He begins slapping himself, yelling at himself. “WAKE UP! IS THIS REAL? AM I HERE? I’VE GOT TO WAKE UP!!!!!”
It’s that moment that Rick Grimes realizes that there is something terrifically wrong, something’s not right. He’s been awakened into a dead world.
Have you ever been there? Sure you have. I have.
It’s that moment when you realize everything is wrong. It’s the time when your senses and time congregate in the astounding understanding that all is not right in the world. It’s that moment when you wake up to something so foreign, so devastating, so unreal; and it makes your forget every moment that came before it – for a time. Maybe you’ve not had that experience yet…but mark my words: you will.
Maybe it takes the form of a foreclosure letter that came Certified Mail. Maybe it comes as news of a betrayal by someone you trusted. Maybe it creeps in as a fire that has devastated your home. Perhaps the phone rings with news that someone close to you has been in an accident. What if it comes as a doctor telling you that you have a small, measurable amount of time to live.
Whatever form the messenger takes, it’s always the same result: is this real? Am I dreaming? I have to wake up! But you know its real; too real, in fact. It’s the “Rick Grimes Moment” – the awakening.
Scripture tells us all about this kind of moment throughout the grand story of God. Creation created by the Creator. “It is good. No, it is VERY good.” Perfection. Utopia. Genesis. Eden. Human beings were created as the crowning jewel of God’s handiwork; His Tour de Force, if you will. Adam an Eve walked with God in the Garden, conversing, learning, living in community with the divine. Perfect perfection by the all-Perfect Perfecter. God.
But something went wrong. They were deceived by a simple question: “Did God really say…?” And they listened…they ate…they died. It wasn’t a physical, drop-dead instantly kind of moment, but it was a moment that the relationship with God was severed in a horrific way. Sin entered the world and corrupted as only sin can do earning a paycheck of death and decay. A curse was handed down from the Almighty, the trust, the relationship, the community…it was gone. Death entered. Genetic mutation began. Shady business developed. Murder tip-toed in the back door uninvited. Pain was brought forth as present and accounted for as sins’ disgusting tentacles spread throughout the globe. The Fall occurred.
We still suffer the effects today (Rom. 8:22-24).
All that in mind here’s the thing: I realize that I am Rick Grimes.
I am born into a dead world. I am discovering that everything is not as it seems…and it scares me, nay, terrifies me. Evil lurks. Darkness stalks. Death hunts. Appetites consume. Addictions rule. Idols reign. Egos flair. Self-righteousness feels so right. And there I am…there you are, born right smack in the middle of it. Everything has changed. And I am being reborn in a dead world.
In that moment on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, Rick Grimes is reborn. he moves past the horror, past the denial, past the anger…and he steps forward in hope that everything that was can and will be restored.
Funny thing though: This isn’t Rick Grime’s thought. No, not at all. This is The Lord God Almighty’s Plan…Everything will be restored…it just has to wake up first.
“And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5, ESV)