Often we live our daily existence in the slipstream of mundane habitual and rarely interrupted daily patterns.

For some it’s the family life, for others work routines and the slightly less predictable retired life. And so, like a deja vu, days pass by in a fairly uneventful peaceful sequence.

One of my favourite authors once quipped that a boring day is a luxury. We rarely understand that. Until we get blindsided. Then our routine gets royally disrupted. In seconds, our peace vanishes and our whole world is turned upside down.

No time for questions or reflection, just deep breaths and adrenaline rushes.

The truth is, that in spite of our illusion of being in control, this world of ours is wildly unpredictable. Political injustices, natural disasters, surprising or chronic illnesses, debilitating mental health challenges and relational breakups, all these are the background wallpapers of our human existence in a broken world.

The longer you have lived as a Stockholm syndrome prisoner to this fake news that you’re in control, the more it’s going to hurt when you get blindsided.

How do you respond? How can you cope?

You start by embracing the truth: I am not in charge. I can’t control what is happening. I realise that my current boring undisturbed daily routine might one day be interrupted. Get ready beforehand. This realistic anticipation won’t protect you from the blow, but it will certainly soften it.

The ancient words of David, the songwriter of the Scriptures, are a strong foundation for the mind and a balm for the heart: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with Me.’

In the mystery of suffering and free will, while God won’t change the rules, He is there in the midst of our suffering, a suffering He understands better than anyone else.

I always have a choice. I can be a pantomime king of my make belief kingdom of control or surrender to the King who is also the Good Shepherd that walks with me in the dark valleys of suffering.

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