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Review: Inspiring Messages Embedded in Great American Family's "Just in Time"

Just in Time, a Great American Family original movie, premiered on March 26 under the Candace Cameron Bure Presents... banner to celebrate the Easter season. Bure's mission is to "deliver to our audience deep, meaningful, faith-filled entertainment of the highest quality,” and Just in Time hits the mark.

What Is Great American Family's Just in Time About?

Hannah (Laura Osnes) and Rowan (Greyston Holt) find their marriage at a breaking point ahead of Easter weekend. The two remain childless after countless doctor's visits and interventions to help them conceive. In the process, the two have become so fixated on having a baby that they've lost each other, and Rowan chooses to spend Easter at his parents' house without Hannah. During their time apart, the two reflect on the situation, questioning if they are still right for each other. With the guidance of friends, family, and strangers, combined with Divine Intervention, they find God and rebuild their lives together on a new foundation.

Just In Time Includes Mystery

Franklin spends his days combing the beach with his metal detector, searching for lost items so he can return them to their rightful owners. When he unearths a gold watch from the sand, he calls the phone number engraved on the back of it, which connects to Hannah's old landline--a phone she keeps in case the father who abandoned her as a child ever attempts to contact her.

Even though Hannah has never seen the watch, she is mystified that it's engraved with the letters R-O (the first two letters of her husband's name) and lists her anniversary date--October 11. How can this be?

Hannah and Franklin join forces to track down the rightful owner of the watch, a journey which is transformative for them both.

Just in Time Offers Hope to People in Relatable Situations

Just in Time is such a well-crafted story that it appeals to viewers across various stages of life, reminding us that no matter what season we're in, our answer and hope can always be found in Jesus.

The movie speaks to many issues that are common to the human condition:

  • Being unable to conceive

  • Growing apart from your spouse

  • Being abandoned by a parent

  • Having a wayward child

  • Needing to control one's own life instead of surrendering to God

  • Wanting to make things happen in our time instead of God's

  • Expecting others to change when we're the ones who need to change

  • Feeling as if God doesn't answer our prayers

Hannah loves her greenhouse because she can control everything in it and feel self-sufficient. To her, it's a haven of order in an unpredictable world. This is a metaphor about people who try to live their lives without God. As the movie explains, when adversity comes, people look in all directions for safety, like a sailor at sea, except towards the lighthouse (God) who can lead them home.

Hannah's desperation drives her to pray, and God shows up in what looks like a string of coincidences but is really Divine Intervention.

Just in Time is Brimming with Spiritual Significance

Great American Family's Just in Time packs biblical teaching into its short runtime without sounding preachy.

When Franklin and Hannah visit a vintage jewelry store, they see a couple looking for the perfect engagement ring, but the one they find is too expensive. Franklin buys it for them anonymously in response to knowing what it's like to have a debt he can't pay, referring to sin and Christ's work on the cross.

The watchmaker's logo is a set of open hands--a lesson about letting go instead of holding tightly. Hannah clings to her issues and tries to resolve them on her own, but by the end, she, too, learns how to open her hands in surrender to God.

Because Hannah doesn't know the Word, she misinterprets the scripture, John 15:1-2, that Franklin shares with her describing how God cuts off branches that are bad for us and then prunes the rest. She thinks his advice means that her marriage is no longer good for her and needs to come to an end, that she can get by on her own. Franklin corrects her, but she struggles to heed his counsel when she learns he hasn't spoken to his son in 20 years. In her eyes, Franklin is a hypocrite. How often the "world" sees Christians as hypocrites just because they aren't perfect! As Franklin explains, however, there's nothing we can do to make up for our past mistakes--God does the atoning.

As Hannah reflects on her marriage, she admits something is missing, but she wrongly assumes that a baby would fill the void. It's true that when people haven't accepted Christ, they look for fulfillment in other ways and never experience the deep satisfaction and peace that comes with having a personal relationship with their Savior.

Hannah stopped praying after her father abandoned her when she was young, assuming her prayers were ineffective. Franklin invests into her life and becomes a father figure to her. God did answer her prayer for a father, just not the way she thought He would.

Along her journey, Hannah's friend, Brooke, urges her to pray, and two women she meets invite her to church. Franklin keeps sowing the Word into her life, and together, lives are changed. One plants, the other waters, and God brings the increase. As Franklin notes, God can turn something terrifying into something beautiful, which harkens back to Romans 8:28 and Isaiah 61:3.

I also love how Hannah's character arc shows how her changed heart leads her to treat people differently. She borders on snippy with her employee, Zoe, who makes mistakes, but she apologizes for her tone and vows to give Zoe more responsibility. When we receive God's mercy and grace, it should be natural for us to extend the same mercy and grace to those around us.

In their time apart, God works on both Hannah's and Rowan's hearts, and when we see them a year later on Easter once again, it's obvious that God is now the priority in their lives, not prenatal vitamins or pregnancy tests, and God just might have a surprise in store for them!

Just in Time Focuses on the Cross

I love that Just in Time doesn't skirt around Christianity by offering generic and blanketed statements about faith that could apply to any religion in order to appeal to a wider audience. The messages contained in this movie are specific and targeted to intentionally share the Gospel. It shows the cross and mentions Jesus by name--the Name Above All Names!

While Christmas movies are in abundant supply, there are far fewer Easter movies to enjoy, so Just in Time will likely become an instant classic to fill the void, thanks to Great American Family and Candace Cameron Bure.

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Does Just in Time Inspire Your Inner Gardener?

God placed Adam and Even in a garden, so is it mere coincidence that Hannah feels happiest in her greenhouse?

I LOVE to garden, and if you do too, here are some products that might interest you before you go (just click on the images to view product details).

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