Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

10/24/2018

Harold Akridge

 

Dealing With The Unexpected

“Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly

kindled by unexpected sparks.”

Samuel Johnson

 

  Most of us can describe our lives as “consistentlynormal.” Regardless of our age, gender, race or station in life, we are comfortable that each coming day will be like the one before. Simply described, we are all living an uneventful life, “not worrying about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. We have enough to worry about today.” (Matthew 6:34)

 

  But, what happens when our life or a family member’s “consistently normal” life is suddenly changed because of a diagnosis of cancer. Our normal good health is taken from us. The death of a family member. A child mysteriously goes missing. The unexplained loss of our job and all our worldly possessions. Our friends and family are no longer there for support and encouragement.

 

  Dealing with any sudden personal loss is extraordinarily painful. One minute, life is “consistently normal” and the next we are not sure where or who to turn to for help. Suddenly, our lives are full of uncertainty, anxiety; we are stunned, shocked and afraid. It is as if we closed our eyes for one millisecond and now everything has changed. We hope we are in a dream gone bad and we will wake up and realize that everything is fine. The reality is that in this world we will have trouble and most of it will be unexpected. (John 14:27) We only need to ask the survivors in the Panhandle coast of Florida, who have lost their homes, all their personal belongings and their livelihood to Hurricane Michael.  Their “consistently normal” lives are changed forever.

 

  When an unexpected personal disaster happens we will all ask the same question - Who do I turn to for help? Do we call “Allstate Insurance, the Goods Hands People?” For Christians we immediately turn to the Lord, “trusting in Him” and “turning to Him in prayer” for encouragement and strength. (Proverbs 3:5; James 5:13) While Allstate Insurance will help replace our house and furnishings only the Lord can restore calm and peace in our lives.

 

  In difficult circumstances the book of Job is an excellent source for assurance and strength. Job was “an honest and innocent man; and he honored God.” He was a man of great personal wealth, with a wife and ten children. (Job 1) He may have been the richest man in the world, the Bill Gates of 1800 BC. Without warning, he lost his entire fortune, his children, his health, everything he had was gone. (Job 1, 2) Job was left with his wife and his three best friends for comfort and encouragement.  Instead of encouragement, his wife shocked him with her advice, “You should curse God, and you should commit suicide”(Job 1:9). Augustine labeled her "the devil's accomplice" and John Calvin called her "a diabolical fury." Job’s three closest friends “heard about his troubles, and they agreed to meet and visit him, sitting on the ground not speaking to him because of his suffering.” Job felt alone. (Job 2:11-13)

 

  After the first week Job released his personal agony, “cursing the day he had been born,” questioning “Why didn’t I just die at birth, why didn’t my mother just let me starve.” (Job 3) Please take a minute and close your eyes. Can you visualize Job sitting in his ashes of misery? Are you sitting in your own ashes of misery? Do you know someone who is? If your best friend or a family member is sitting in their own ashes of misery, what advice will you give them? In chapter four Job’s close friend Eliphaz sits down with him and becomes the special friend he needed. Eliphaz advises him, “If I were you Job, I would call on God and bring my problem before Him” (5:8). This is the same advice we should give to our friends who are in their ashes of misery.

 

  In 1885 Joseph Medlicott Scriven, an Irish poet received news his mother was very ill. To comfort her he wrote a poem called “Pray Without Ceasing.” This poem was later set to music and renamed by Charles Converse, becoming the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” This hymn reminds us that when we are Dealing with the Unexpected in our lives that we can count on the comfort we have through Jesus. We can carry all our problems to him in prayer. We should never be discouraged in our trials and temptations. He is our friend, always faithful and he will share our sorrows. When we are weak and heavy-laden, cumbered with a load of care, take it to the Lord in prayer.

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,

and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11.28

 

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever

loses his life for me will find it.”

Matthew 16:25

 

—HAROLD AKRIDGE

    Bella Vista church of Christ