The Glorious Nature of the Unexpected

The monitor’s screen was filled with heart waves in green. Blood pressure and oxygen saturation numbers, and a few other mysterious lines and symbols flashed on and off while I sat at my friend’s bedside. She wasn’t planning for this event. She was heading home after visiting family and friends more than nine-hundred miles away.

She was only twenty minutes into her drive when the heavy pressure in her chest became intense enough for her to call to let me know what was happening. I stayed on the phone with her until she could follow the GPS directions to the closest hospital. Thankfully, it led her to a good one. The hospital admitted her with skyscraper blood pressure levels. Within an hour, we were in the car headed her way.

What is unexpected to us, is never a surprise to Him.

That’s what gets me through when the emergencies of life hit . . . knowing He’s not caught off guard, He’s not in shock. In fact, He is orchestrating all things for our good and His glory. That’s where rest is found. Remembering the truth that nothing surprises Him—and He is the one who walks on water and stops the storm with just a word.

The one word I need to remember when the unexpected hits is: surrender. If I will surrender (joyfully) to God’s sovereign interruptions, I’ll be able to see His hand at work. My word for 2016 is surrender, but I confess, I’ve been quite obstinate through much of this year. I am in need of a more yielded heart.

It’s April, only four months into the twelve, and I’ve already allowed the craziness to distract me from living the surrendered life. I needed to look back today, at what I recorded as the year began:

Spiritual Growth Focus: Surrender

[box]“And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word . . .” (Luke 1:38)[/box]

My Prayer: 

“Let it be my concern to devote myself and all to thee. Make me more fruitful and more spiritual, for barrenness is my daily affliction and load. How precious is time, and how painful to see it fly with little done to good purpose! I need thy help: O may my soul sensibly depend upon thee for all sanctification, and every accomplishment of thy purposes for me, for the world, and for thy kingdom.” (Valley of Vision)

Below are a few personal notes I recorded in my journal on January 1 this year:

If I truly desire God’s glory, I will embrace every affliction God appoints for me. So, it begins. The new year: 2016, the year of surrender. The year of yielding in order to glorify. I know that because God’s character is good, His heart is kindness, and His disposition is mercy, then all that He has stored up for those who take refuge in Him is—abundant goodness (Psalm 31:19).

The passage that I’ve taken for my focus this year challenges me to take look beyond what I can touch and feel and recognize the eternal that’s right in front of my face, although unseen:

[box]So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)[/box]

Hearts that wear out, hospital stays that don’t end happily, stress-filled days, and anxious nights . . . are all elements of the “transient.” They are real, they cause pain and carry with them necessary affliction, but while the outer is pressing in and we yield to the work God is doing, the inner is renewed and prepared. The eternal weight of glory doesn’t come without the affliction. And that weight of glory is eternal. The interruption is not in reality an interruption at all. It’s the preparation of that eternal weight, that glory that is beyond all comparison, that eternal work that God sees is necessary to perform in me.

God is at work using the moments of each day, the crunch times, the heartaches, the interruptions, and even the craziness, to do that work of preparation.

Where does He find you today? How is He at work preparing you?

Image courtesy of smokedsalmon/