In the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, reportedly one of the best movies of the 1990s, the main character Forrest, played by actor Tom Hanks, quoted his mother as saying, “Life is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Those words continue to ring true. It is not without significance that life is said to be a journey, a very eventful one in which we experience highs and lows, surprises and disappointments, sadness and happiness. That journey is broken down into days, and each day is given to us, wrapped like a present, and we have no idea what that package contains. Days of immense happiness can be followed by devastating tragedies, and somewhere in the mix of experiences is the realization that this life is not quite fair.
The tragedies and disappointments we sometimes experience can often leave us feeling like we have been in a heavyweight fight with boxer Mike Tyson in his prime. We get broadsided by the unexpected at times when we least expect them or have no reason to expect them. Our individual experiences often overwhelm us, provoking some of us to feelings of anger, betrayal, disbelief, tears, frustration, helplessness, and, if we are not careful, to shake our fists in the face of God at what we consider to be His and life’s unfairness.
The psalmist David realized this condition when he wrote: “When my heart is overwhelmed and weak; lead me to the rock that is higher than I [a rock that is too high to reach without Your help]. For You have been a shelter and a refuge for me, a strong tower against the enemy” (Psalm 61:2-3, AMP). By ourselves, we cannot survive life’s storms and the things that threaten to destroy us. However, as long as we allow Christ to lead us to the rock that is higher than ourselves, we can find refuge and strength in the strong tower who is our Saviour. It is refreshing to know that regardless of what we find in our “box of chocolate,” we do not have to become victims of those circumstances; we do not have to be knocked out. Though we may stagger at what life throws at us, we will bounce back up on our feet every time the enemy thinks he has knocked us down.
As the apostle Paul reflected on his “box of chocolate,” he put it this way, “We are pressured in every way [hedged in], but not crushed; perplexed [unsure of finding a way out], but not driven to despair; hunted down and persecuted, but not deserted [to stand alone]; struck down, but never destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). We may go down, but by God’s grace, we will not stay down. Thank God! Though we may not know what life will throw at us, we know we have a place of refuge for the times when we feel overwhelmed and need to be somewhere safe. Jesus being there makes all the difference. I know; I’ve been there.