We live our lives with certain expectations, so it is always a surprise when the unexpected happens.
In 1959, we were in the United Kingdom for three weeks. During that time, we spent a day trying to find the resting place of my wife’s paternal grandfather. Eventually, we located the church where his grave is. The rector told us that he is buried in the new church addition that was added only two hundred years ago. The original church, he added nonchalantly, was built in the 1400s!
Wow! That was unexpected! We were from Canada where any structure constructed over a century ago is considered old.
Years later, our teenaged son was able to spend some time in London, England. He returned just thrilled with all the wonderful old buildings, museums, and historical sites. It was unexpected, and he only wished that he had been able to spend more time there.
When one of his friends returned from a similar trip, he unexpectedly reported that London was really boring. He said that the sports facilities were not as good as in Canada and that the city was really just full of old buildings! Same location, contemporary people, but totally different results with different expectations.
Jesus specialized in the unexpected. He fed thousands with a meagre lunch. The stormy waters suddenly turned calm at His command.
“For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2 NLT)
As we live in this COVID-19 pandemic, I think that we all face a challenge to be like Jesus and to do the unexpected. We are limited in how we can interface with our families and friends; we have to wear a mask whenever we go out; we can’t meet and sing heartily in large gatherings and church services; and we don’t know how long this different way of life will continue. The expected response when we have interchanges with others is to share how upsetting this terrible virus is, and how disruptive it is to the things that we normally enjoy doing.
The challenge for me and, indeed, for each of us, is to do the unexpected and ensure that each interaction that we have with another person is positive, helpful, and uplifting. We do have Jesus’ example of loving and helping others. We, of all people, should be the ones filled with confidence and hope, knowing that our loving Sovereign Lord is fully in control of our situation.
Prayer: Dear Father, in this time of uncertainty, may we be willing and eager to do the unexpected. Help us to realize that others may need our positive love. Help us to share Your love with others. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada