A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.–Proverbs 16:9
Out of the depth of his vast experience Solomon reminds us that man may make plans, but God has the final say. Man devises–God directs; man proposes–God disposes.
From the time I trusted Christ as my Savior I’ve been learning to expect the unexpected. Notice, I didn’t say,”I’ve learned”; I said, “I’ve been learning”. I am still in the process! Perhaps you also have noticed that God has a way of surprising us. One minute we’re sailing along on smooth seas then God suddenly changes things –sometimes in an unpleasant or painful way. When I became a Christian I expected, even desired, some changes, but I never expected what lay ahead. I had no idea that things would change so drastically, so quickly, and so often. I sure never dreamed of the journey that was to come. It’s a good thing that God doesn’t allow us to know the future. Most of us are not strong enough to deal with the shock of knowing what lies down the road.
Now, after all these years and many experiences, I’ve noticed a pattern forming–changes just keep coming; sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. Some of the changes are caused by God and sometimes they are simply allowed by God. Whatever the cause or the result, I’ve noticed that when we assume that things won’t change they do. We work overtime to get things just the way we like them and then, about the time we become comfortable, God stirs up the nest and we find ourself up in the air on the wind currents of uncertainity.Expect it!
We can expect the unexpected because there are good forces and bad forces at work. Consequently both good and bad things happen, and we often mistake the one for the other. Eventually we learn that things are not always as they appear. The light at the end of the tunnel might be a train!
About the time I think I’ve learned to expect the unexpected God shows me I haven’t. Like most people, I’m sometimes guilty of assuming that things will remain as they are,whether pleasant or painful, when in reality they won’t. That being the case I need to make sure that I respond appropriately to the situation at hand. I must not assume that I will have forever, or even a day, to do what I should do. Nor should I mope about in a state of depression as though I will never smile again. I will! It’s always just a matter of time until things change–but sometimes it happens very unexpectedly.It’s then that we must be very careful.If we are wise we will try to ascertain the reason for the change and be the better for it, rather than bitter about it.
Some changes come to discipline us–those are the ones that are really painful. Other changes come to develop us. God wants us to grow spiritually–to accomplish that He often sends the unexpected and puts us in a situation where we must walk by faith. Then, on other occasions God sends the unexpected to direct us–putting us in a position where our talents can best be used for His purpose. We often don’t understand why it happened until years later when we are better able to see how His hand of Providence has been working.
Learning to expect the unexpected can be frustrating and/or fearful. Change often makes us feel uncomfortable. It can keep you tied in knots and keep you from enjoying what you have. However, on the other hand, expecting the unexpected can be a blessing. Remember the old saying,”This too shall pass”?–that’s true. Just because it appears that the sun will never shine again doesn’t mean it won’t. You might suspect that your health will never improve, but you could be wrong. Expecting the unexpected, or expecting God to do the unusal or the unthinkable, or the impossible adds excitment to one’s life. We all need a wake-up call now and then, and God knows exactly what it takes to get our attention!
The bottomline is this–things are going to change. You can bank on that. You can resent it or resist it, but you can’t stop it. Change is coming. As much as you might want things to remain the same, you have to accept the fact that they might change–maybe sooner than you think or desire. Let’s just make sure that we don’t make changes that shouldn’t have been made. There are many things that we can’t control, but in many instances God puts the reins in our hands and gives us a choice in the direction we take. It’s then that we that we must be very careful. Get ready–change is coming! Expect it.