Leave Room for God to Surprise You

Story of the Day for Tuesday May 8, 2012

Leave Room for God to Surprise You

                    As Jesus walked along the lake of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting nets in the lake — for they were fishermen. And Jesus said, “Come, follow me . . .” 

                                                                     Mark 1:16-17

 Steven Spielberg has been called the greatest film director of all time. He has twice won the Academy Award for Best Director. You can hardly read through the list of his blockbuster movies without having to take a bathroom break.


When Spielberg was about six or seven, his dad told him, “I’m going to take you to see the greatest show on earth.”

The circus! Little Steven couldn’t wait.

They drove from New Jersey to Philadelphia and waited in a long line. As they went through the entrance Steven expected to find a tent with bleacher seats. Instead, he found himself in a dimly lit room with comfy seats. A large, red curtain opened, the lights went down, and a flickering, grainy image appeared on a screen.

Steven Spielberg was watching the first movie of his life: Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

The young boy felt betrayed, but his indignation quickly evaporated. “I was no longer in a theater; I was no longer in a seat — I wasn’t aware of the surroundings . . . I became part of an experience.”

The movie featured a spectacular train wreck. A speeding train smashed into a vehicle on the tracks. The actual filming of the scene was done with a model train, but to Spielberg “it was as real as I’ve seen anything in my life.”


From that moment on, Spielberg knew what he wanted . . . a Lionel electric train. The year after he got his first train set he asked his dad for another one. He was obsessed with trains.

Once he had two train engines he set about recreating the wreck in the Cecil B. DeMille movie. He crashed the trains into each other and broke them. His dad had them repaired and the next week he crashed and broke them again.

“Look!” Steven’s dad threatened, “I’m going to take the train set away from you if you crash this train set into each other one more time.”

Steven wanted to watch train wrecks but didn’t want to lose his train set. So, he grabbed his dad’s 8mm Kodak camera and filmed one of his trains barreling down the tracks toward the camera. He turned off the camera, switched camera angles and filmed the other train coming from the other direction. Then he filmed a crash sequence.

“That’s how,” Spielberg recalled, “I made my first movie.”

The threat of losing his Lionel train set turned Spielberg into a movie maker.


If you want to make God laugh, the old axiom goes, tell him your plans. Our lives never follow the scripts we write for our future. We might as well leave room for God to surprise us because he’s going to do it anyway.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)