“Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get” (from the 1994 movie “Forest Gump”). I love this line from Tom Hanks! It’s hilarious and heart-warming. It’s ridiculous and yet so true. What makes this quote so endearing is that life is really unpredictable. You think you know what you’ll get from a box of chocolates. But when you bite into one, you may be either sweetly surprised or bitterly shocked.
This uncertainty sometimes drives people to polar opposites. You either look at life with joy and accept the uncertainties or you eat your heart out fretting over the lack of control and life’s apparent constant vacillation.
The same can be said with so many unexpected events in our lives. Who can predict the outcome of the USA and North Korea’s meeting in Hanoi on 27 Feb after their meeting in Singapore last June? Who can foresee a healthy person suddenly collapse and his life hangs on a thin thread? Who can foretell when the next 9.0 earthquake will strike this region?
And who could have predicted that our College’s retaining walls would need urgent repairs and rectification work costing about a million dollars, depending on the extent of the repairs?
On a recent routine inspection, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) found cracks on the retaining walls behind the College and the brick perimeter wall in front of the College that separates us from the main road. BCA has mandated that the College rectify the defects by 31 July 2019. These defects pose a danger to the pedestrians and those using Blocks 2 and 4.
The retaining walls have protected us from landslides for more than 80 years! And our perimeter brick wall looks fine, though it is leaning slightly. But, rectifying these defects may possibly cost us up to $1,000,000. That’s six zeros! This situation is unpredictable, unexpected and unfortunate.
“Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get!”
We can choose to respond to situations like this in different ways. We can feel hapless and blame it on “fate.” Or we can become masters of our own “fate” and take things into our own hands to mitigate this “crisis.” Or… we can trust that our good God is absolutely in control over everything, and His plan of salvation shall come to pass. Listen to what Isaiah prophesied:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)
While Israel thirst for water and hunger for bread that will not satisfy, Isaiah foretold a time when God will invite anyone, not just the Israelites, to His banquet table for free. Isaiah’s call for his people to “seek the Lord while He may be found” (v.6) and his warning for the wicked to repent (v.7) is anchored upon a promise-keeping, covenantal God (v.3). This promise is beyond what God’s chosen people could imagine nor ask for. Thanks be to God that in God’s appointed time, He gave us His only Son Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life (John 6:35), the living water (John 4:10; 7:37). Indeed, His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am worried. I’m worried that we are in financial deficit. I’m worried that we have a short runway to rectify the defects. Yet, as I was frowning and fretting over the next course of action to raise the funds, I was reminded by my friend and co-worker Katherine that we must thank God for protecting us all these years without a single incident! And our Jehovah Jireh will provide in His good time. God’s ways are not our ways. We are called to trust in His provision and pray for His protection.
Yes, life is like a box of chocolates, given by God. We will not know what we will get, but we can certainly taste and see that the Lord is good.
Grace and peace