By Barb Mazarakos
One of the most quoted cinematic lines comes from the 1994 film Forrest Gump, in which Tom Hanks as the title character tells his friend, “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Isn’t that the truth? One day you are going along, living your life as you always have. Then BAM! Life changes. You get another chocolate, so to speak, only this time it doesn’t have a delicious caramel filling, it is overflowing with nougat (what IS that stuff, anyway?) Next thing you know, you are a caregiver, unemployed, or a widow. Just like that, life as you had known it has changed and now you have to figure out a whole new way of being.
We all have moments from our life that we can put into those little candy box compartments. One such moment for me happened the first time I lost a job. It was a job I really liked, with people I enjoyed being around. I was young-maybe 20- and I had no idea that things would be ok. At that moment, having never been “downsized” before, it just seemed like things were falling apart around me. As I have come to (and continue to) learn, things in my life happen on God’s timing, and that was no exception. Finding myself unemployed, still living at home, and with nothing really holding me back I decided to join the rest of the VOYAGERS on the annual trip to Winter Camp, something I hadn’t been able to do before because of work. I admittedly don’t remember much about that trip except that it was over New Year’s, I think we were in Iowa, and I had a cold which kept me inside when others went out to enjoy the snow. On one of those indoor times I found myself chatting with campers from another group and joining their impromptu Bible study. The verse of focus? Matthew 6:26. If you don’t know it by memory, allow me to refresh you: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Wow. To this day, I can remember that feeling of reading that verse at that given time. The overwhelming emotion, the kindness of strangers whose faces I can no longer see but whose empathy stays with me and reminds me that things may not always work out as we would like but they will work out. The birds in the sky go day to day in blind faith that their needs will be met, so why can’t we? Doesn’t He love us as much as those birds? Won’t He provide for OUR needs, but at HIS timing?
Yes! The answer is yes! He does love us and He will provide. But you must believe. You must be fervent in prayer. And you must know that “this too shall pass”. I know it doesn’t always feel like it. Lord knows life has not always been easy for most of us. But if you hang in long enough, one day you will go back to that box of chocolates and the one you get will be filled with all of the goodness you have desired. So hang in there. The next chocolate you get may be the one you were waiting for all along.