Expect the Unexpected

like-a-thief-in-the-night_t_nv

My title for this post is probably a statement you’ve heard many times. You may have even said it yourself. It’s usually spoken when something unusual or significant happens that doesn’t really surprise you. In other words, you’re of a mind that if anything could happen, chances are it probably will. So, expect the unexpected.

I was perusing the Internet and found a variety of quotes pertaining to this statement. I expected to find a few thoughts about expecting the unexpected but I didn’t expect to find it applied to so many subjects by so many individuals. Here are some quotes from Brainy Quote:

  • Intelligence: “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect” (Oscar Wilde, Irish Dramatist).
  • Search: “If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail” (Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher).
  • Time: “Well, I’m still working on The Incredibles. So I’m going to take a little time off. I’ve got a couple of tricks up my sleeve. I’m not ready to talk about them yet, but expect the unexpected” (Brad Bird, American Cartoonist).
  • News: “When you’re in the news business, you always expect the unexpected” (Helen Thomas, American Journalist).
  • Politics: “The one thing we can all be sure about in politics is you are as well to expect the unexpected” (Charles Kennedy, British Politician).
  • Writing: “Writing is a journey of discovery because until you start, you never know what will happen, and you can be surprised by what you do – expect the unexpected” (Mini Grey, British Artist).

There’s another item we could add to this list and it’s from the Bible: The Second Coming of Christ. Jesus warned that many people will not be expecting his return. In Matthew 24:36-42, He likened it to the days of Noah when the people were not expecting the Great Flood:

36 …. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

We’re living in such a time as Noah’s. People of the world go about their business as if there were no tomorrow. There’s no plan for salvation; no consideration for preparing for the Age to Come. It’s everybody for himself. There is no place for God anymore. Unbelievers mock Christians and in many places of the world Christians are persecuted and killed because of their faith. Christians are becoming a minority where churches once thrived. But we can expect this kind of treatment.

Jesus prophesied that if we follow him and strive to live according to his teaching, we can expect people to hate us and despise our way of living. But Jesus said we’d be blessed in spite of the ways we’d be treated. The Good News is there awaits a great reward for those who remain faithful even though there is suffering in this present life: See Matthew 5:12 and Luke 6:23. I guess you could say that we ought to be surprised if we’re not despised and treated unfairly in this ungodly world.

The Apostle Peter wrote,

2….that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. 3Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts  4and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation,” (2 Pet. 3:2-4; see also Jude 18, New American Standard Bible, NASB).

Jesus also likened his unexpected coming to a thief in the night. In Revelation 16:15 Jesus said, “Behold I am coming like a thief.” Jesus explains further in Luke 12:35-48:

35“Be ready for service and have your lamps lit. 36You must be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet so that when he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once. 37Those slaves the master will find alert when he comes will be blessed. I assure you: He will get ready, have them recline at the table, then come and serve them. 38If he comes in the middle of the night, or even near dawn, and finds them alert, those slaves are blessed. 39But know this: If the homeowner had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect,” (Holman Christian Standard Bible, HCSB).

But believers do expect his unexpected coming. We may be fascinated at the signs indicating the nearness of his return, but we are not surprised. If we study the Bible and open our eyes and ears we will discover how prophecy is being fulfilled today. We are not in the dark if we are living in the light of Christ and his Word, expecting the events leading to the second coming of our Lord. As the Apostle Paul said to the Thessalonian church,

2For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3When they say, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains come on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4But you, brothers, are not in the dark, for this day to overtake you like a thief. 5For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness. 6So then, we must not sleep, like the rest, but we must stay awake and be serious, (1 Thessalonians 5:2-5, HCSB).

Be ready for that Great Day. Live one day at a time with the expectation that Jesus will come soon. Expect the unexpected.

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

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