One of my favorite movies is A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. It’s based on the life of brilliant mathematician John Nash, a schizophrenic who chose to fight his emotional instability through the power of love.

For years, John lived in a world of wild delusions, exhibiting increasingly erratic behavior. He eventually underwent radical treatments to bring him back to reality. But the cure was almost worse than the sickness. In the climactic scene of the movie, his wife Alicia commits herself to helping John fight his way through the difficulties ahead. She says, “I have to believe something extraordinary is possible.” That was the beginning of his comeback.

            John had tried to conquer the demons in his mind through the sheer force of his will; the disease was too strong for him. He couldn’t battle by using his intellect, because his problems originated in his mind. The medicine that eliminated the symptoms also took away his ability to participate in his marriage or function as a father. It was only when he accessed the power of love that he was able to live a productive life.

            The first step was to resist the hallucinations he had believed to be real people. They tried to lure him back into their make believe world. He refused to succumb. They showed up every day, and every day, he passed by, resisting the urge to let them in to his life. Like our own temptation to sin, John had to continually choose not to participate with them or give them power over his behavior.

            Like John, we can’t conquer sin through our own efforts – through will power, or intellect, or “medicating” to escape the realities of life. The only way to win against it is to accept God’s all-powerful love. That’s when extraordinary things begin to happen. That’s where we find the power to resist temptation. Only then can we pass up opportunities to interact with our own delusions that promise us satisfaction, but instead, suck us into the insanity of sin.

            Extraordinary things also happen through prayer. Personally, I have no power over the addictive behavior of others, or the lies they believe about themselves, the character of God, and the church. I cannot makeanyone choose the way to eternal life, or release others from financial woe. I can’t protect them from the hurts others have inflicted on them. But something extraordinary happens when we pray.

            God’s love can rescue the desperate and give hope to the hurting. He has resources to provide for the needy and comfort for the grieving. Only He can reach into the dark recesses of a hardened heart and bring people to wholeness. God is doing extraordinary things all the time. I not only believe it; I know it.