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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Finding Hope in the Unexpected

“I didn’t see it coming!”

Why does the unexpected alarm us? Why is the unanticipated disturbing?

We’ve all experienced times when life is proceeding smoothly, only to be interrupted by an unplanned event that we didn’t see coming: A car breaks down without warning. A washing machine malfunctions. An air conditioner decides to quit when the temperature is over 100 degrees!

Even those wise enough to budget for unexpected breakdowns can be caught off-guard: An unplanned and unwanted medical need can disrupt more than our finances!

“I didn’t see it coming,” is an expression that reveals our inability to anticipate or predict life.

As much as we desire life to be free of trials, we know better, we just don’t know when trouble will disrupt our tranquility!

For my friends who always choose to see the glass half-full, rather than half-empty, it may appear that I’m casting a “gloom and doom” outlook on life. On the contrary, my point is:

Hope is not discovered because life runs smoothly, or if it is disrupted by the unexpected. Our hope is centered on God, who is present when life is smooth or stressful!

Paul, the apostle, embraced his sufferings with an understanding that trials (those unexpected, unplanned, and unanticipated interruptions to life) have redeeming qualities.

“… we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

Because God’s love is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, we have assurance, even the guarantee, that hope placed in God and His promise is not a misplaced hope. It is an unfailing hope that sustains us when life is smooth — and challenging.

We can’t anticipate or predict life! We can have an assuring hope because of God’s love. Remember: God is with you, “even if you didn’t see it coming!”

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