Breath held, white knuckles exposed, we ride toward the epic climax. Transported through space and time, we dare believe this impending disaster can reverse itself into a victory for our hero. The suspense thrilling yet distressing.
Without warning alarms splinter the air. We sit paralyzed in limbo between fantasy and reality. Disoriented, the mental fog lifts,
The movie stops.
Reality sinks in.
This is not an interactive segment of a Hollywood movie.
Above the din and the blinding strobe lights we hear it. The robotic voice calmly orders,“This is an emergency alert, please exit the theater immediately and seek safe passage outside the mall.”
Safe from what?
Is there a fire? I smell no smoke.
Can’t be a tornado because it’s January?
So with dread I wonder, a gunman? But I hear no popping sounds.
The throngs crush in one direction. A trickle pushes against the tide, panic barely in check. A worried chatter swirls down the halls.
A split second decision. Prayers gathered in my mind.
Could it be a life or death determination?
Right or left?
Exits in both directions.
We choose left, the path of the many. Nearing the theater exit door, we hear a shaky voice. High pitched and squeaky, a young theater worker shouts above the din.
“It was a false alarm, if you would like to return to your seats we will resume your movies.”
What? It was nothing?
So we returned. We and six other couples traipsed back in and waited
Only to be told after prolonged silence, that our movie remained the only one in the house that could not be restarted.
“Please go to the service desk for a refund.”
Incredulous, we exited once again.
The ending would have to wait for another day.
As I stool in the refund line, I overheard a security officer chatting with other patrons,
“This happened over at Quail Springs last year, the parents of the kid who tripped the alarm were sued by AMC for lost revenue.”
Seriously? `This was a kid’s prank?
And then I didn’t care.
There was no lurking evil in the theater today. Relief washed clean that right or left didn’t matter. That missing the last fifteen minutes of the movie didn’t matter.
I was safe and sound,
Another prayer answered.
Just last week in the news again, innocent people gunned down in a Florida airport.
Twenty years ago the thought of a gunman wouldn’t have entered my brain. But we live in a different world now. Hate abounds and is aggressed in murderous ways. To the fanatical, deranged and distressed, human life is merely collateral damage. Unwilling sacrifices executed to make a point, their lives stolen, or maimed, victims of senseless violence.
Thirty seconds of fame?
Scoring for a misguided cause?
The explanation forever unchanging—Evil abounds.
The solution simple and eternal—Seek God’s refuge of peace.
In him alone will always be the solace we seek.
“He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day…
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.