I’ve been thinking lately about how routine life is. That’s not all bad. We need to be consistent in following the routines of eating and sleeping and exercise. But we need a little time now and then to break out of our routines and do something different. Something refreshing. We can plan some changes, but some are unexpected.
Last week my husband took an unexpected detour and ended up in the hospital for three days. Thankfully, the doctors and nurses took good care of him, and his kidney problem and pneumonia are now under control. He’s at home recuperating.
Recently our grandson injured his leg while playing tennis. His wife had a baby while he was hobbling around on crutches. Not good timing and not a fun scenario.
Accidents happen. Flights get canceled. Illnesses occur. Lots of unexpected things happen and we never know when. The point I’m getting to is – how do we react to these not so good surprises? What can we learn?
First of all, we need to expect the unexpected. James 4:13-17 (J. B. Phillips) says: Just a moment, now, you who say, “We are going to such-and-such a city today or tomorrow. We shall stay there a year doing business and make a profit”! How do you know what will happen even tomorrow? What, after all, is your life? It is like a puff of smoke visible for a little while and then dissolving into thin air. Your remarks should be prefaced with, “If it is the Lord’s will, we shall be alive and will do so-and-so.” As it is, you get a certain pride in yourself in planning your future with such confidence. That sort of pride is all wrong.
Of course, we need to remember that God is with us. His message to Joshua can be for us today: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9, NIV).
Here’s some more practical advice from the Scriptures. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19:21, NIV). God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1, KJV). Just because bad things can happen doesn’t mean we should live in fear. The “what ifs” don’t need to control our lives. Instead, we can adopt the valuable admonition of Paul. Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7, J. B. Phillips). Isn’t that the result we all want? “My expectation is from Him,” Psalm 62:5 says. Isn’t that the safest way to face the unexpected?