“You know exactly what you’re doing. You have from day one. You don’t ‘go on lunch break.’ You don’t take a nap to recharge.” (Psalm 33:11 RSV)
Are you a surprises person? I mean, do you like surprises? For myself, as long as it is a good surprise I would say I really enjoy them. A few months ago, some friends of mine threw a surprise birthday party for me. It was awesome. I really appreciated everyone making the effort. I felt incredibly valued and loved. Now…it has to be legitimate. I hate it when people hold a surprise over your head; that’s simply miserable. I am also making the assumption that the surprise is in a positive light. Negative surprises are never a good thing.
Recently, I was pleasantly surprised by a movie I saw. My roommate and I watched the movie Unstoppable. Have you seen it? It’s the one with Denzel Washington and the train that well, is unstoppable.
Unlike in his other movies, Denzel Washington’s character Frank, is a hard ass that is pissed off at the world while it underestimates him. Despite these realities he rises up and saves the day.
Oh wait, that’s just like every other Denzel role. My bad.
Anyway, the scene is set at a train yard. (Is that the right term? A shipyard for trains? We’ll go with it.) Two seemingly low-end employees are responsible for moving trains around making sure they are on the right tracks. Though we don’t know much about the characters, it is very clear they have been doing this for a while due to their nonchalant attitudes about completing the tasks. This is probably somewhere around the thousandth time they are doing this.
One of the larger trains comes through and Dewey, played by Ethan Suplee (see also Louie Lastik, Remember the Titans) is responsible for making sure that the speed is correct and the track is accurate. In moving one of the trains Dewey fails to attach air hose to the rest of the train; meaning the air brake will not work. Though his partner notes this, Dewy says he will attach it after parking the other train.
You can see where this is headed. Dewey knocks the throttle to full speed and after falling out of the cabin cannot get back in as he watches the train slowly started to speed away; unmanned.
Dewey as it were, fell asleep on the clock.
If I haven’t already ruined the movie for you, go and see it. I think you will enjoy it. As I sat and watched however, I couldn’t stop thinking about Dewey. How many times in my life have I been Dewey? How many times had I fallen asleep on the job? My mind wanders to some classes I have sat through or practices where I have gone through the motions.
Thankfully I cannot think of any horrific atrocities that have occurred while I have been ‘out to lunch.’ Maybe your story echoes a similar sentiment. Maybe in a moment of weariness or fatigue, you haven’t followed through on your end of the deal.
So you are probably asking the same questions I am: why all of the tragedies in the world? Why the natural disasters? Why human atrocities?
I’ll be honest: I don’t know. I wish I did.
I do know that God doesn’t need our excuses. Just like he brought David into power through a harp (2 posts ago), He allowed Job to be tested.
God has never fallen asleep on the clock.
He doesn’t make mistakes.
Nothing is a surprise to Him.
As much as I don’t sometimes like it, I don’t think we are ever meant to understand all that God is and all that he does. The prophet Isaiah warns that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, his ways not ours. Though I love to have control and understanding, I have to loose this one to the fact that God is God and I am most certainly not.
I love the encouragement Isaiah 40 offers; no doubt you’re familiar. Even youths grow tired and weary. Young men stumble and fall.
How true is that?
I find myself tired too often. And Dewey himself is an example of our oft failures. But the promise is that those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. In order to be a source of renewal, you can’t be asleep.
You can’t take a play off.
There is no vacation.
We serve a God who will never ‘be back in 5.’
He won’t grow faint, he doesn’t grow weary. God is at work around the clock. And while we may not always understand what he is doing or why he is doing it we are called to believe deep in our selves that God is in fact good. Not only is he good; you might even say he’s unstoppable.