Preparing for the Unexpected

Preparing for any type of change in your life can be difficult.  There are thousands of books, articles and resources available to help you in any transition process.  Whether it is facing a layoff six months away, a child in the oven for nine months or the purchase of your new home, there is something for you.

Now think back to the last time you went through an unexpected change in your life.  The dynamics are different when you are facing something you did not expect or plan for.  An unexpected medical emergency, the immediate loss or transition from one job to another or the death of a friend or family member.  Those are daunting tasks to prepare in advance for, but with no warning can be crippling to a person.  My question today, is how do you prepare for the unexpected?

Go west young man

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. Genesis 12:1 NIV

When we read the story of Abram, it is one of an unexpected calling leading to unmerited favor.  God chose him to expand His Kingdom physically, at the same time stretching Abram’s faith spiritually. 

In the cultural context when this scripture was written, outside of nomadic tribes, people did not venture very far from their homes.  Their survival was dependant on their land and the animals to their care.  He was leaving everyone and everything he had known accept for his immediate family and nephew.

Change, change, change…

Originally from Guatemala, C.A. most of my childhood memories are from growing up in a small rural town called Tulia, Texas.  I recall the fondness of small town life where the livestock outnumber the human population.  Being able to play with my friends until the street lights came on then running home for dinner.  I remember spending time at my Father’s church sitting on stage with him.  If he wore a suit, I had to wear a suit.  That was life in 1984 and life was great. 

Bam, the ninety’s arrived along with Bugle Boy jeans, Reebok pumps and life changed.  I found out we were leaving Tulia for Brownfield, another town 4 hours away, where my Father had been voted in as Pastor.  Before I knew it, I was packing my belongings and saying good bye to the only friends I had known since coming to the U.S.

Later in verse 4, we see Abram was obedient to God and struck out without knowing where he was going.  Wow!  Now that is a leap of faith. 

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.  Genesis 12:4 NIV

Let us never be dissuaded from chasing our God given dreams because we are too young or too old.  Age is just a number and should never hold us back or disqualify us from serving in God’s purposes.

Paving the way

We would land in Brownfield, TX in the summer of 1991 after my brother and sister graduated from Tulia High School.  I was 12 years old and will never forget the day we were introduced as the new Pastoral family.  Still upset from the move and not paying attention to wires on the platform, as I walked on the stage to greet everyone I tripped and tumbled down three rolls of steps.  Let’s just say the entire congregation had a great laugh that day at my expense.  I was able to get up, shake it off and laugh with new friends I made later that day. 

From that day forward, I knew I had to embrace change or else risk tripping myself up in other areas.  We would move from Brownfield five years later to Richardson, TX.

Now living in DFW, looking back at the memories I have made and the friendships I have forged.  I would not have experienced the majority of them had we not moved from that small town in North Texas.  I would not have had the experiences I went through being sheltered in that small pond.  At that early age, I learned to embrace change even though it was tough.  I learned to look forward to the unexpected because it was a chance for a fresh start.

The Blues

I have always found it interesting how colors affect our moods.  A strong red color is perceived to incite passion and intensity while blue can have a calming and tranquil affect.  To prepare for the unexpected, your perspective must view whatever comes your way as a part of the growing proces.  

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  James 1:2-3 NIV

In Abram’s situation, he was hearing directly from God what his mission was.  It wasn’t the entire plan, just enough to get him in action, and he went.  God still speaks and moves in the same ways today, He does not change.  We don’t all have burning bush moments or hear from God out loud, but His Holy Spirit still prompts and leads us.

When the unexpected happens in your life, stop and breathe and pray for a momentGive yourself that buffer before you react or respond.  Many times when we feel overwhelmed, we tend to make issues bigger than they really are.  When you stop and reel things back in, you are not allowing emotions or spontaneous demands to affect your decision making.

Confirmation nation

After taking a moment, analyze whether you are listening to God’s voice or your own fears.  Make sure you are still on the same path where God is leading you.  When you are certain that you are walking under God’s protection, you can walk in peace knowing everything will work towards your good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

Ultimately in preparing your heart to handle any season, with it’s high and low points, is knowing God is in control.  For some, that may be scary in and of itself.  We want to be in control of every aspect of our lives.  When we lose that control, we can shrink back, stop taking risks and start functioning out of fear.  Fear is the opposite of faith.  Fear believes God is not sufficient for your needs.  

What would happen if we all faced unexpected challenge with a victorious mindset?  What would it look like if we fostered a healthy respect for fiery situations knowing they will only burn off impurities from our lives?  

Dear God, let us be that generation that faces challenges with faith.  Allow those situations to occur you know will force our hand and stretch our faith.  Holy Spirit continue to transform us into the spiritual warriors you made us to be, in Jesus name.  Amen.