Survival instinct

[Joe Eszterhas] plopped down on a curb and cried. Sobbed, even. And for the first time since he was a child, he prayed: “Please God, help me.”

Mr. Eszterhas was shocked by his own prayer.

“I couldn’t believe I’d said it. I didn’t know why I’d said it. I’d never said it before,” he wrote.

But he felt an overwhelming peace. His heart stopped pounding. His hands stopped twitching. He saw a “shimmering, dazzling, nearly blinding brightness that made me cover my eyes with my hands.”

Like Saul on the road to Damascus, Mr. Eszterhas had been blinded by God. He stood up, wiped his eyes, and walked back home a new man. — A Hollywood Plot Twist: ‘Basic Instinct’ author writes book about faith, David Yonke, Toledo Blade, 23 Aug 2008

EszterhasThe man who made himself famous by writing sex-soaked and violent scripts like Jagged Edge (Glenn Close), Basic Instinct (Sharon Stone) and Showgirls (Elizabeth Berkley) is about to be published again. And this time, he plans to expose himself.

Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith is the story of Joe Eszterhas’ battle with throat cancer and the desperation that led him, unexpectedly, to embrace a new faith in Jesus Christ.

Eszterhas has returned to the Catholic faith he practiced as a boy. He now calls the Eucharist an “overwhelming experience,” and with his oncologist declaring that his cancer is cured, Eszterhas has made good on a promise he made to God in the midst of his suffering, that if God would help him, he would testify publicly to his new-found faith.

Foxhole conversions are a dime a dozen, and only time will tell if Eszterhas will remain true to his faith. I’m reminded of the author Anne Rice, who turned from writing dark novels about vampires to an acclaimed fictional account of the childhood Jesus, Christ the Lord. Rice is the genuine article. Her faith is real, and in her writing one sees a profound awe of Jesus, the Lord she now worships. She, too, has penned a spiritual memoir, due out in October, titled Called Out of Darkness.

When Joe Eszterhas faced the dark void of his empty life and the prospect of death, he claims to have run into the arms of God, an act that contradicted everything he had come to stand for. In his moment of great need, he looked for God and found Him.

That testimony stands in terrible contrast to the recent interview with writer/director Woody Allen, whose unshakable atheism has left him empty, frightened, and without hope.

Who has it right? Is there a God who embraces us when we cry out in the darkness, or is there just the empty echo of our own voices?

Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “Please, LORD, save me!” How kind the LORD is! How good He is! So merciful, this God of ours! The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and He saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me. — Psalm 116:3-7, NLT

(Thanks to the folks at Get Religion for the link to this interview.)

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  1. What a contrast…these two men’s opposite reactions to God. Interesting perspective, as always. And you reminded me I’d like to read Christ the Lord.

  2. Oh, how loving is our God! That He would be ready at all times to meet with someone who opposed Him for so long and in so many ways.

    Eszterhas now has peace. And Woody Allen still has only despair. We can pray for him…

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