Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 21, 2012

The Unexpected, by David Bower

Life is Full of Surprises!

Life has shown me that many of the most significant, life-changing events have been unplanned, unexpected, and happened without warning; this has been so often the case as to become virtually axiomatic.

We can all probably recall numerous incidents in our lives where this was the case; events that in some instances may have even resulted in changes that would forever change our lives and were totally unexpected.

When these things happen, and they will, how do we react? Well, we have two choices; we can respond by faith or we can respond by sight. As Christians we have the responsibility to respond by faith but sadly that is not always the case.

In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we are told, “We live by faith, not by sight.”

In Romans 8:28 we are told, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are told, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

What do we have so far; live by faith, know God is working all things for our good, and in all things give thanks. Do you notice anything missing in that list? How about panic, fear, doubt, crying, agonizing, feeling abandoned by God or despair; are none of those allowable alternatives? Obviously not, all of these are living by sight, not by faith.

An Icy Road and A Barbed Wire Fence

I vividly remember an unexpected adventure that I had in Northeast Texas one winter. Having been raised in South Texas I was unfamiliar with winter driving that far north. On that occasion I was by myself driving on a small farm road surrounded by cultivated fields when I encountered a small ridgeline where the road rose up over the ridge then dropped back down on the other side.

What I didn’t know was the nature of icing patterns in that situation; whereas the south side of the ridge was dry and free of ice, the north side of the ridge was frozen sheet ice which caused me to lose complete control of steering and braking and I slid off the road across a small ditch and was stopped by a barbed wire fence.

If you’ve seen that kind of rural road and fencing you may recall one curious phenomenon and that is the pile of dirt that collects under the fence line. On one side is a plowed field and on the other a shallow, open ditch and my car was balanced on the elevated portion which left my back wheels in the air; I wasn’t going anywhere any time soon.

It surprises me even now to recall that my first reaction was to thank God for this unexpected event. I acknowledged that I certainly didn’t understand it but accepted it as His will for my life. Within a few minutes a farm truck came along and had a tow rope which the farmer attached to my rear suspension and pulled me back on the road.

I was overwhelmed with gratitude but the farmer wouldn’t accept any money for his help. I’ll never know why that happened but I’m confident God was working it for my good. I was able to resume my trip which was completed without further incident.

Our Choice

I find it helpful to remind myself that nothing catches God by surprise; He knows every day of our lives and knows exactly what will happen to us. In Psalm 139:16b we are told, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

When the unexpected happens we have a special opportunity to honor God by our faith in Him. We can believe what He has told us and respond to the unexpected by faith, and not by sight. When we do this we bless ourselves and please the Father who sent His Son that all of this might be available to His children.

No event will overtake you that is not known to and permitted by God. God has left you here while He conforms you to the image of His Son. In Romans 8:29 we are told, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

You are a work in progress; when opportunities present themselves to please and honor God don’t miss out on the opportunity; respond by faith and not by sight.

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