In theaters this May, IF is a live action/animated fantasy comedy that was written, directed and co-produced by John Krasinski (The Office, A Quiet Place).

While going through a difficult time, a young girl named Bea (Cailey Fleming, The Walking Dead, Loki) develops a unique coping mechanism. She is suddenly able to see everyone else’s imaginary friends, or IFs, for short. A giant fuzzy purple IF named Blue (voiced by Steve Carrell, The Office) explains that the IFs need Bea’s help. 

The children who created them have all grown up and stopped believing in them. The IFs have been abandoned, and they want Bea to help them find new kids to love, who will believe in them again. 

Bea doesn’t know what to do, until she discovers that her neighbour, known only as The Man Upstairs (Ryan Reynolds, Free Guy, Spirited), shares Bea’s remarkable ability. The two form an unlikely friendship and hatch a plan to help the IFs.

Can Bea and The Man Upstairs help the IFs find new kids to believe in them? Will helping their imaginary friends show Bea and The Man Upstairs that it’s OK to believe that there’s still good in the world?

Grown Up, “Grown Out”

Many of us had imaginary friends during childhood. We might’ve created them because we were lonely or bored or just because we had active imaginations.

But as we grew up, reality took over and our imaginary friends went by the wayside. We stopped believing in them because we accepted that they weren’t real.

For some of us, faith in God feels like an IF, something we believed in as a child but, as we grew up, we decided it wasn’t real and we left it behind.

Some of us might’ve stopped believing because we think faith in God is illogical. It’s a fairy tale that no longer makes sense to us. We might feel that “The Man Upstairs” has somehow let us down and we give up on our faith because of pain or disappointment.

Sadly, some of us “grow out” of believing in God when we become adults.

Better Than We Can Imagine

The movie IF poses an important question: What if everything we believed as a kid was real?

Kids believe their imaginary friends exist in real life, despite never having seen them with their eyes. They believe in them because they see them in their minds. They might even feel them in their hearts.

We can’t see God with our eyes, but we feel His presence in our hearts and in our lives. DIANE STARK

Having faith in God can feel a bit like believing in an imaginary friend. We can’t see God with our eyes, but we feel His presence in our hearts and in our lives. We look for evidence that He exists, and we find it in our answered prayers, in the miracles we’ve witnessed and in the beautiful world that only He could’ve created. We don’t see God, but we feel Him when we’re paying attention.

It’s normal to have occasional doubts about our faith. We can talk to God about them—after all, He already knows. Our doubts don’t rattle Him or make Him angry at us. God is patient, and He will help us work through these feelings if we ask Him to. But the best news is that, even if we’ve left behind our faith at some point, God will always welcome us back with open arms. It’s never too late to come to faith for the first time or to return to a faith we once abandoned.

And there’s no IFs, ands or buts about that!

Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

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