When the Unexpected Breaks In
I went to see a movie recently and found my usually relaxed approach to what would come next jarringly different from anything I had prepared for. I found myself making a mental note of the exits and watching the front of the theatre for any unexpected action during the opening scenes. I noticed theatre staff checking on exit doors prior to the start of the movie, and grateful for their presence. These responses are entirely new to me. A rush of adrenaline and a touch of nerves maybe my familiar companions when I’m stepping into a roller coaster at Wonderland for the ride of my life, but not when I’m entering a movie theatre – until now.
The Colorado shooting rampage that killed 12 people and injured many more has impacted us all in different ways. We no longer look at the usual without thinking of the unexpected. What if that were the case – in more positive ways? How many times have we entered fearful situations with clear memories of past experiences of courage or comfort, strength, hope and blessing. I appreciate how the writer of the Old Testiment book of 1 Chronicles focuses the attention of God’s people in this area: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done…” (1 Chron. 16:11-12).
I’m likely to encounter other times when my thoughts may have to wrestle against fears or doubt, but the next time it happens I’ll also remember the countless experiences God has brought me through and the times God has provided more wonders than reasons for worry. It’s not only life that sometimes presents us with the unexpected, its God. The benefit to faith is that looking back we have tools for living forward. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22-23).