There is a great equalizer among men which, by definition, you can’t fully prepare for. The unexpected.
Like God’s servant, Job, the unexpected can blindside you and change your life in an instant.
“While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” Job 1:18-19
While still reeling from the news of his children, Job was struck with terrible boils from head to foot that were so painful that he was reduced to physical misery, scraping them with broken pottery, trying to appease the terror in his flesh. His friends saw him and fell silent because his suffering was too great for words. (2:13)
But what can we do? It’s a dangerous world and if we focused solely on protecting ourselves from things we couldn’t foresee we would certainly go insane. So we occupy our minds with work, family, activity, even (much) lesser things like politics, media or sports, things that give us some level of pleasure, and put aside worrying about things we can’t control.
Then a parent dies. Or a child. Or a diagnosis sends you straight to the operating table. And life the way you had become accustomed to it ends. Changes. In an instant. Like Job the unexpected ‘swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides.’
Life stands still. Nothing matters anymore. All the things you were doing yesterday are of little consequence. Someone else will attend to them. What you thought was your life has been swallowed up by the harsh reality of the unexpected. We are truly fragile beings.
We don’t want to live in fear of the unexpected, that would be bondage. And we don’t want to convince ourselves that we somehow have immunity and will never be targeted by the unexpected – that’s a fools wager. How then shall we live?
There are several dear ones who have been hammered by the unexpected within my sphere of relationships in the past few days. A degenerative diagnosis, the passing of a precious toddler, and an emergency open heart surgery. In each case the unexpected failed to cause the shipwreck that ruins lives and families, (even Job’s wife counseled him to curse God and die).
These heroic people possessed something that the unexpected couldn’t phase. Beyond strength of character and resolve, and there is much of both, there is an intangible factor, something unseen yet present that carried these brave hearts through water meant to drown them and that would surely have drown others. Jesus.
Jesus is their hedge against the unexpected, for nothing is a surprise to Him. He knows the end from the beginning. His presence in a life give that person the faith and hope that nothing can ever happened to them that Jesus hasn’t already sanctioned for their good. So they will be okay. Their loved ones will be okay. Whether in the kingdom of heaven on earth, or in heaven, they are loved and secure in Christ.
If you worry about the unexpected. Take a lesson from these ordinary people of faith – embrace Jesus. Trust Him. He will carry you through your darkest hours when the unexpected strikes and you wonder how you will ever move forward.
The One who saved you from your sins, and stands with you through the storm, also holds your future in His hands. Glory to God.