It’s a common belief that magic and religion are completely incompatible, that one contradicts the other, and thus should not be combined under any circumstances. Jim Munroe disproves this notion in an extraordinary way, very easily captivating his audience with every illusion he performs and every word he says onstage. He shows that magic and religion are very relatable topics, and very much go hand in hand. He shows that a simple card trick can be extraordinary if looked at with the right perspective.
Jim Munroe is much more than a magician, an illusionist. He’s a motivational speaker, an artist, a child of God. I got the chance to watch Munroe’s show when he came to perform at my school this week. As soon as he stepped onstage, his bright and bubbly personality very quickly resonated with the entire audience, jumping offstage, unceremoniously dragging a select few audience members with him back onstage to perform his first trick – all without uttering a single word. He then continued the rest of his show, performing a series of feats and stunts, most of which involved the (reluctant) help of members of the audience.
It was after the entire first act, though, that he began to show his true colors. The first half of the show was meant to entertain, to charm the audience, to get people’s attention. After the five-minute break following the initial half of the show, Munroe put all of the laughs and giggles aside and began to share his own personal journey becoming a devout Christian with the audience, all while incorporating more tricks to complete the show and get his ultimate message across.
He revealed that he was once a cancer patient on the verge of death, having little to no faith in God or himself. It was with the bravery and generosity of a nineteen year old girl, though, that the Light of God appeared suddenly in his wake. Munroe had an extreme case of Leukemia, and underwent treatment after treatment, only making himself weaker and weaker, despite the corresponding weakening of the cancer cells. Then, he was given the opportunity to live his life fully again when the option of getting a bone marrow transplant landed in his lap. It was lucky, almost fateful, that out of a registry of hundreds of thousands of donors, there was exactly one perfect match for him. Long story short, today, Jim is now cancer free, and it is because of the brave nineteen year old female, Janelle, that his wife isn’t a widow, that his children weren’t fatherless, that he was able to celebrate over ten years of marriage with his wife.
The magic tricks and the illusions weren’t what entranced me, and it wasn’t his quick-witted sense of humor that kept me invested in the show. It was this man’s unwavering faith in God that truly spoke to me. Being a former agnostic himself, it took being on the brink of death for him to turn to God and be the devout God-fearing Christian he is today. He noticed the different signs that God was giving to him during his illness that enabled him to see things in a different light – from the fact that he would be literally given the blood of another human being to live; the fact that 3 days after his worst chemotherapy treatment was given, that he would be “reborn;” the fact that his bone marrow donor’s name, Janelle, literally means “grace from God.” He explained just how easy it is to disregard the “coincidental” things that happen on a daily basis, and how quick we are to be stuck in the mindset that our destiny isn’t predetermined. It takes true strength to put all of your faith in one entity that may or may not be there, but once you do, incredible things start to happen.
I, myself, have been raised Catholic my entire life. I went to a private Catholic school for almost half of my life. I was sat behind a desk with a Bible in front of me, and was told to memorize it. I was told that if I prayed the same prayer every night, that God would respond. And here and there, He would, but never to the capacity that I was told. It wasn’t until this past year that I began to realize that I have been doing it wrong my whole life. I was praying empty words to God. I turned my back whenever something went wrong. I didn’t care about sin, because I was told that no matter what, God would forgive me. I was wrong. I was so, so wrong.
I still have a long road ahead of me to become a better Christian, but it’s a road that I am more than willing to take, if it means perfecting my relationship with God. I pray from the heart now, and not from the head. I turn to God not only in times of need, but also in times of triumph. With this new mindset, I see Him everywhere I go, and I see the good and the beauty in everyone and everything. Seeing Jim Munroe’s show was just another push in that direction. Jim taught me to repent and let Christ be my guide. He taught me to let go of the reins and let God be my pilot. Jim taught me that when you look at the cards you were dealt with a different perspective, with different eyes, that it is impossible to look back.