Watch out for the unexpected

Published 4:26 pm Friday, June 1, 2018

recall an attention grabbing occasion when my wife was getting her coffee ready as we relaxed before bedtime. I did not realize that she had left the cabinet door opened while she was using the sugar, but I found out in a most unforgettable way; the bottom of the cabinet door is just about even with my eye level, but I did not notice it as I walked through the kitchen.  Suddenly and without warning my forehead made forceful contact with it.  I placed my hand on my head to try to ease the pain and when I took it away I noticed the blood on my hand.  It was not nearly serious enough for medical intervention, but it sure got my attention.

Gale felt bad about what happened and expressed that she would close it next time.  Next time, however, was not what I was concerned about at the moment.  Current reality had revealed itself in an uninvited and unpleasant way!

I do not have to remind you that life is full of all kinds of surprises, and not all of them are desirable.  All of us know the shock of a day that starts out flowing smoothly, when suddenly a distressing phone call comes, bad news is received, or some other shocking and life-changing event occurs.  Those things are worse than being struck on the head unexpectedly.  The good news is that we can always rest assured that God’s grace is sufficient to see us through whatever dilemmas we face. 

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In Proverbs 3 rich assurance is given to God’s people that can be especially beneficial when the unexpected occurrences of life catch us off guard:  “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared” (verses 25-26, New International Version).  Sudden and unexpected situations can instantly change our plans; they can even permanently change our lives entirely.  It is then that we need the sustaining goodness of God to love, comfort, and guide us.  Thankfully He is always available and we can trust Him no matter what comes our way.

In his book Three Steps Forward Two Steps Back, Chuck Swindoll made a comment worth reflecting on regarding the process of growing spiritually:  “I’ve never met anyone who became instantly mature.  It’s a painstaking process that God takes us through, and it includes such things as waiting, failing, losing, and being misunderstood—each one calling for extra doses of perseverance.”  What a good reminder to us that we will bump our heads a few times in our spiritual journey through life, yet we cannot afford to give up; we must keep striving to become more like our Lord.

My head healed up just fine from the encounter that I had with the cabinet door (sometimes a hard head can be quite beneficial!), but it left an impression that was not quickly forgotten.  Maybe I have learned to be more aware of my surroundings and watchful of what is lurking nearby.  It should continually be our prayer to remain on the alert for the snags and traps that Satan, the enemy of our souls, so craftily sets to interfere with our walk with God.  When we grow weary and stressed in the midst of life’s spiritual battles, here is a bit more wisdom that Chuck Swindoll offers that can be of great value:  “In extreme assaults of stress, God invites us to rest in His eternal embrace.”