6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7, NRSV
Secretariat. In times like these, it’s my go-to feel-good movie.
It’s not that I’m all that interested in equestrian sports. I can’t say I’ve ever watched a single Triple Crown race. And I really had no interest in seeing the movie when it first came out in theaters. It was never on my radar.
I only clicked on it because I needed a distraction. It was a hard day, a sad day. My heart was heavy, my brain was full, and I needed a distraction, a feel-good distraction. As I swiped through “feel-good movies” section of Amazon Prime Video, I landed on “Secretariat.”
It was just what I needed. It is a lovely story, of course… a story of a horse that was born to run… a story of owners and trainers who could see great potential where others saw none… a story of a daughter, contributing to her family’s legacy… a story of a horse and jockey who set records that, some fifty years later, have yet to be broken.
“Secretariat” was the movie I needed that day, when my heart was so heavy and my brain was too full. What I loved most about it: there was no suspense. None whatsoever. As I watched the “suspenseful” scenes at the end of the movie, the scenes from Secretariat’s epic run of the Belmont Stakes, I remembered: I already know how this ends. The horse wins. Of course the horse wins. That’s how a casual observer like me — not exactly the most ardent Thoroughbred racing fan — even knows this horse’s name. Besides, they don’t usually make movies about the horse who came in second.
I already know how this ends. And that realization didn’t ruin the movie for me at all… because on that day, when my heart was heavy and my brain was full, I didn’t want nail-biting suspense. I wanted heart-warming inspiration. I wanted to feel all the “feels” without feeling any of the suspense. I wanted to sit back and say, “I already know how this ends.”
That’s why, in times like these, I return again and again to “Secretariat.” It tends to that part of my soul that “wants to know how this ends.”
I want to know how this ends, this season of coronavirus. I want to know how it ends. I want to know when it ends. I want to set others at ease. I want to set myself at ease. I want to start planning and preparing, counting down, glimpsing the light at the end of the tunnel and the end in sight. More than anything, it’s the unknown timeline of this pandemic that sets my teeth on edge and causes me to pace.
And as I type those words, a praise song from my college days creeps into the edges of my cluttered mind:
Lord, I don’t know where all this is going
Or how it all works out
Lead me to peace that is past understanding
A peace beyond all doubt…
(Newsboys, “Lord (I Don’t Know)”)
In seasons like this one, that’s my most honest prayer. That song — that prayer set to music — gives voice to the part of me that wants to know “where all this is going,” “how it all works out.” It gives voice to the part of my spirit that just can’t muster up the words, the part of my spirit that resists trusting and hates being in the dark, the part of my spirit that needs “peace that is past understanding” the most.
If you’re like me, and you’re tired of the suspense, and you long to know “where all this is going” and “how it all works out,” I invite you to make this song your prayer. I invite you to make Philippians your prayer. As you do, may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Be at peace friends. Remember:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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