We Could Never Imagine

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Future President Ronald Reagan starred in the 1939 Warner Brother’s film, Code of the Secret Service. He played the role of tough Secret Service agent Brass Bancroft. I am being kind when I say the film was not particularly good. It was so bad producer Bryan Foy attempted to shelve the movie before it was even released. One disillusioned fan told Reagan, “You should be ashamed.” Reagan agreed, and later described it as, “the worst picture I ever made.”

Though the movie’s star and the film’s producer both thought the movie was a dud, Code of the Secret Service came along at just the right time for Jerry Parr. It completely captured the imagination of the ten-year-old Miami, Florida boy. He was so mesmerized by it he made his dad take him to see it time after time. After repeatedly seeing this second-rate movie Parr was inspired to become a secret service agent. Years later he did and worked his way up through ranks of the agency.

In a stroke of amazing irony, Parr was assigned to guard his childhood hero, Ronald Reagan, and on March 30, 1981, when John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate the President, it was Parr who tackled Reagan and shoved him into the waiting limousine. It was Parr who saw the president cough up blood and made the split-second decision to head directly to the hospital. It was Parr who… well… saved Reagan’s life.

Ironically, the worst film Reagan ever made was instrumental in saving his own life 42 years later as he was doing the most important job in the nation. Would Parr have been there to protect Reagan if the future President had not made Code of the Secret Service, in 1939? We will never know. Never-the-less ten-year-old Parr was inspired and Secret Service agent Parr was there at just the right moment when the President needed him most.

The story seems too much of a coincidence to be one. It demonstrates how God accomplishes his will through seemingly unconnected events in our lives. The longer I live the more convinced I become that the moments we think are significant sometimes are not, and the events we view as inconsequential are sometimes momentous.

The Apostle Paul described the surprising way God works when he penned these words, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20, NLT, emphasis mine)

Reagan never imagined the worst movie he ever made would end up being the most important film of his life. He could not have known the movie of which he was most ashamed would save him. God’s invisible power is on display in ways we could never imagine but can be clearly seen if we choose to recognize it.

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