Understanding the Unexpected
Why is it that when life could not be going any better, all of a sudden something unexpected comes up and totally disrupts everything? It almost seems as though it is scripted and that life goes through this orchestrated cycle over and over. Everything is going so well, so comfortable and in this uphill trajectory, but all of a sudden you lose your job, a family member gets diagnosed with a life threatening illness or someone you love passes away un-expectantly. Why is this? Why can’t life just go according to plan? Why is it that for many of us, life seems to throw us so many curve balls? It just feels like we don't have the best of luck. Has this happened in your life? It surely has in mine.
Throughout my life I have pondered on these questions and in many occasions I have asked "why" right in the middle of my own storms. At the start of this year I took a step back to examine my life (as everyone does when a new year begins) and I could not help but realize that there was one common denominator at the end of many of these trials and situations in my life. What I realized was that many of my situations did not necessarily change, but I did. I saw that I was not the same person from the start to the finish. My perspective and heart changed with every rising situation.
Ten years ago when I was in my early twenties, I was working in my field of study as an architectural drafter for a great company and I remember thinking to myself, "life could not get any better than this!". I was young, successful, married, a homeowner and making a great living, so how could anything go wrong. Little did I know I would lose multiple architectural jobs due to the rapid decline of the economy, which costs lots of jobs for those in the construction industry. Every drafting position that I had would not last me more than a year. I kept thinking to myself, "God, why is this happening to me?". I filed for unemployment so many times that I knew the whole process like the back of my hand. I just did not understand why this was happening to me.
I will never forget what a good friend told me during this process. She said, "God is not allowing you to get comfortable in a certain area or position because He wants you for Himself". That always stuck with me and I did not understand that until I began to see that God really desired all of me. When I understood that I did not see losing the same, I saw it as a gain. I saw it as an opportunity to draw closer to God.
I am by no means saying that I have found the answers in every situation in my life - up until this day I still have many questions and many why's, but I have understood that an answerless situation is not a hopeless or failing situation and I would go even further to say that searching for the answers is not our role, job or our calling in this life. Our job is to trust the one that holds the answers and the one who holds the keys to our lives. Our call is to follow God's lead in love, faith and obedience.
But even knowing all of that, have you ever thought to yourself, what if quite possibly God, the creator of the world and universe would allow situations in our lives to occur, because he wants to draw us closer to him? What if He is trying to catch our attention? What if He is trying to mold and shape us? Or maybe He wants to examine our hearts and see our response?
That is exactly how I began to look at my situations. A perfect example of this is found in the book of Job. Aside from Jesus, I cannot think of any man in the Bible that lost so much in such short time frame. Job 1:12 says, “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.
Job lost all of his livestock and farm hands, all of his sheep and shepherds, all of his camels and servants and most heartening of all, Job lost his son's and daughters. Talk about having a bad day! And if that was not enough the Bible says that Job was also struck with boils from head to toe. Could you imagine what was going on in Job's mind?, but I love what the bible says in Job 2:10 "...Not once through all this did Job sin. He said nothing against God." That is faith that I want to obtain.
I do not believe in coincidences; life under the sun has a purpose. Every detail of our lives has meaning and nothing is left to luck, but why do we insist on believing that this life is not going to bring us struggles, pain, suffering and many more uncomfortable situations? Not only that, but why do spend all of our lives chasing security, pleasure, comfort, success or happiness? Those things are great and should be pursued, but understand that they will not change your heart and your circumstances. These things are also not guaranteed to last. When Jesus said, "do not build your house on sand" this is what He was talking about. He went on to say that those whom built their houses on sand, when the waves and storms came, their homes came crashing down because there was no solid foundation. So when security, pleasure, comfort, success, happiness is the foundation of your life, you will be in for a big surprise when you find out that there is no stability and assurance. When those things are gone, what else or who else will you hold on to?
If there is one thing I want you to understand, it is this, God is in the heart business. God is more concerned about our hearts more than anything else. The bible says, that man sees the external and physical, but God sees the heart of a man. (1 Samuel 16:7) Our hearts, our the center of our lives, they are the springs of our lives (as the Bible describes it in Proverbs 4:23) and if God can have our hearts, then He has access to all that we are.
So struggles, suffering, pain, unexpected moments and situations will arise at some point in our life, but they don't show up to defeat us, they rise to develop us. Don't allow negative circumstances to define you or victimize you, but allow them to grow you. Look beyond the struggle and find the lessons. Many times it will be right in front of our very eyes and in other cases it will take time to understand and find, but no matter when that time comes, your struggle, your pain, your storm is not a waste – it is part of your story. It is a part of the development of your heart and God making you out to become what he intended you to be the moment that He formed you in your mother's womb.
Job stood firm and in the end everything was restored back to him and more. Job was not dependent on riches, security, happiness, etc. Job's life was dependent on God. When you have all of God and God has all of you, there is nothing that will defeat you. You may be shaken, but you will realign yourself and keep walking. You may fall, but you will get back up and keep going.
- List five moments or circumstances of disappointment, struggle, pain, or discomfort that you are currently in.
- Can you find or highlight moments within those times where God has been speaking to you or is trying to develop something within you?
- Ask God to illuminate himself and instead of praying God why, let your prayer be God what. God what are you trying to show me? God what are you trying to teach me? God let me find you in the midst of this trial and situation.