I must have been about nine years old, my sister, Carmen who is ten years older, worked in our small town theater. Unlike most of the theaters of today, which are relatively small, this theater was huge. It had a large stage from which the host of the show would stir up the audience, giving away prizes at the Saturday afternoon matinees.
There was a balcony with plenty of room to accommodate all of the children and parents that would come to the matinee. This theater had a gigantic screen, and a massive red velvet curtain that would slowly rise as the lights began to dim and the movie would start.
I had been to these matinees many times with older members of my family , but this Saturday I went with my younger brother , Bob.
Hansel and Greatle was the feature movie of the day. Carmen bought us some candy. Then she lead us down to some seats close to the front, where Bob and I settled in. It was early and the theater was almost empty. Before Carmen left us she told us not to worry, she said she would be working at the theater entrance taking tickets.
Bob and I were happy excited and waiting for something good to happen. Watching the people file in was even exciting, at first, but as the crowd and the noise level started to grow, Bob and my anxiety started to grow. I looked toward the door at the back of the theater every little while and I noticed Bob doing the same. Our excitement turned to fear. “Where was she?” , we asked each other . “Why isn’t she here sitting with us?”
It seemed like we had been there for ever , and the longer we waited the worse we felt, until both of us in a panic, started to cry.
A lady sitting near us asked us if we were okay. In tears, we told her that our sister was lost. The lady took us by the hand and led us to the big door in the back of the theater. She opened the door to the lobby and there was Carmen, just outside the door, working. We ran up to her, our faces wet with tears, “Where were you?” we asked, trembling. “I’ve been right here the whole time.” she answered.
She had told us that she had to work, we knew it , but we let fear get a hold of us and take control. She knew where we were and if we would have just stayed in our seats we would have been fine.
After she calmed us down, Carmen wanted to take us back into the theater, for the show, but we were still feeling fearful and upset, so we didn’t want to stay for the rest of the movie. Carmen called our dad to pick us up and take us home.
Later that day, I felt stupid. I missed something that I would have really enjoyed, because of fear. And there was no real reason for it, everything was under control, Carmen had been there, she told us what to expect, but because we didn’t see her, we panicked.
In Hebrews 13:5, God said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” In the theater that Saturday afternoon my brother and I were afraid because we thought Carmen has left us. At times, as a Christian I have had those same feelings about God. It’s at those times fear has a chance to take control, and has kept me from the good things God has planned for me.
That afternoon, Carmen gave us the option to go back into the theater, and watch the movie. We didn’t because of fear.
We can’t always help feeling fearful, but we can remind ourselves that God is there with us. And we can make the decision, not to walk away from the good things that are waiting for us.