While I was in my peaceful office this morning, minding my own business, thinking hard and then trying to write down what I was thinking for an upcoming Classic State of Mind segment, the electricity in our building suddenly went off. My internet stopped. My monitor went dead. The lights in my office, the lights out in the lobby? Dark as the inside of an empty tomb. Smack in the middle of what could have been one of the best sentences I’ve ever written, suddenly the unexpected happened. The electricity stopped flowing in our building, and the sentences stopped being recorded on my computer. My plan for the day was sabotaged, all because of no electricity; all because of the unexpected.

Why is it, do you suppose, that we never expect the unexpected? I can be going along with my schedule and what needs to happen, when it needs to happen, in the way it needs to happen. And then, it doesn’t happen. Something ‘unexpected’ happens instead of what I expected. How do I handle the unexpected, and why do I refuse to understand that every time something unexpected occurs, opportunities show up at exactly the same time.

I think one of the reasons the un-expecteds of life are so difficult for me is that the idea of the unexpected challenges myassumptions about control and certainty. Anyone with even a lick of common sense knows that life is inherently unpredictable. But that doesn’t keep me from predicting, and by inference expecting. We all do our best to anticipate and control outcomes in our lives. And our lives are filled to overflowing with surprises and unforeseen circumstances.

I did a bit of investigating about the word “expecting.” Turns out it has a Latin root, expectare, which means to ‘look out for,’in the sense of ‘deferring action, or waiting.’ I find that a fascinating bit of etymology. If I use that definition, then when I’m ‘expecting’ something, I’m supposed to be looking out for it. But, if I truly embrace the reality that my life in God is at His bidding, and therefore, unpredictable in many ways, it would seem to me that what I need to be ‘expecting’ is … the unexpected.

Somehow, in my feeble brain, I confuse two important but very distinct realities: Sometimes, an unexpected happens. I can be sitting in my office and the electricity goes out. My intended agenda cannot develop because I don’t have any electricity to make the lights come on. I find myself in the dark.

But there’s a world of difference between being out of electricity … and being out of ‘Power.’ Because of God’s sovereignty and the plan of Jesus, I may have a day I did not anticipate that is complicated because I have no electricity. But I’ll never have a day when I have no Power. In this sense, embracing the unexpected becomes a way of surrendering to the mysteries of life and acknowledging our limited understanding of the divine plan.

With God, I have all the power I need.

2 thoughts on “Unexpected

  1. Thank you Ken. I’ve been living in the unexpected lately which has made me depend solely on God. My plans are not Gods plans I don’t understand why things happen but I trust Him completely. He has used me in so many way’s to share His love, compassion and grace. Thank you again! Bonnie

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