Elsa, Abram, and Heading Into the Unknown

Caitlin Eha

The beginning of Frozen II finds Elsa and Anna living happy lives in the northern kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa has made peace with her magical powers, and she and her sister enjoy the close relationship they always wanted. But something nags at Elsa: a feeling that she’s still not quite where she belongs. Then a strange voice calls her beyond the borders of Arendelle.

At first, Elsa doesn’t want to follow the voice. She argues with the call, singing, “I’ve had my adventure / I don’t need something new / I’m afraid of what I’m risking if I follow you / Into the unknown.” But the longer Elsa hears the call, the more it awakens her desire to venture beyond the familiar and find her true place in the world.

In the Old Testament, Abram wasn’t quite where he belonged, either. His father, Terah, had moved Abram and other members of their family from Ur, intending to relocate in the land of Canaan. But Terah halted their journey in Harran. Then Abram heard God’s call to “‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.’” Abram led his family “and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.” Harran wasn’t a bad place for Abram to be, but it was only part of the journey. God intended for Abram to find Canaan, the land where he truly belonged.

Ruling Arendelle isn’t a bad situation for Elsa, but her journey is not complete. Deciding to follow the strange voice, Elsa, Anna, and their friends travel to the mysterious Enchanted Forest. Despite some initial mishaps, they are able to make peace with the indigenous Northuldra people they meet there.

Once Abram settled in Canaan, many situations seemed to go his way, too. He was materially wealthy, successful in war, and blessed by a priest of God. Beyond this, God promised that he would give the land to Abram and his descendants—and, since Abram and his wife had no children, God also promised that he would bless them with a son. God even changed Abram’s name to Abraham to signify that he would make Abraham into a great nation. With so many blessings from God, what reason would Abraham have had to not obey him? It’s easy to follow God’s voice when we can see his hand at work and blessings are clearly resulting.

Unlike Abraham, Elsa doesn’t initially know the voice she follows, although she senses something familiar about it. (Spoilers ahead.) When Elsa was a small child, she snuggled safe in her mother’s arms while her mother—probably the most trusted person in Elsa’s young life—sang a gentle lullaby about Ahtohallan, a river believed to be a source of magic. When Elsa learns Ahtohallan is real, she believes it might also be the source of the mysterious voice. Elsa sets off alone, guided by the words of her mother’s lullaby. She finally reaches Ahtohallan, seeking the voice and seeking answers. As the ice of Ahtohallan lights up with memories, Elsa glimpses her mother again. Realizing she’s found the place her mother was trying to lead her, Elsa trusts the voice and is able to find the answers she seeks.

Ruling Arendelle isn’t a bad situation for Elsa, but her journey is not complete.

However, the journey turns dark as both Elsa and Anna end up in grave danger. Anna faces sudden loss, uncertain what to do now that her path has gone where she didn’t expect. Curled into a ball in a dark cave, Anna is tempted to give up. Instead, she forces herself to her feet. She sings, “When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again / Then I’ll make the choice / To hear that voice / And do the next right thing.”

Although following God involves blessings, there are often times of pain and darkness as well. After Abraham’s promised son, Isaac, was born, God told Abraham to do the unthinkable: sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering to God. The Bible does not record Abraham arguing with God’s command, but perhaps he wondered why God had given him Isaac only to take his son away. Even when we’re on the right path with God, sometimes life seems senseless. We don’t understand why God called us to the painful place we’re in. At those times, we can only do as Abraham did: obey, one step at a time.

Abraham obeyed because he knew the God who spoke to him. He recognized God’s authority and trusted his goodness. Similarly, we don’t obey every voice we hear in our lives. We follow God because we know his voice and trust him, even when we don’t see the whole picture of his plan.

By the climax of Frozen II, the sisters have put everything on the line: their lives, their loved ones, even their kingdom. But by persevering to the end of the journey and doing the right thing—even when it looks like it will cost them everything—Elsa and Anna bring peace to their world and find where they truly belong.

Because Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac, God not only spared his son but also promised to bless the world through Abraham. Through Isaac—an only son, carrying the wood for the sacrifice on his back as he climbed a mountain—God foreshadowed the offering of his only Son, Jesus Christ, who was born from Abraham’s line and came to “save his people from their sins.’”

If we, like Abraham, answer God’s call into the unknown, is there any limit to what he can accomplish through our obedience? In Frozen II, Elsa states, “Fear is what can’t be trusted.” God is calling us beyond our fear and into the unknown so that he can “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine...” It’s up to us whether we answer his call and ask, in Elsa’s words, “How do I follow you / Into the unknown?”

Topics: Movies