Back in my running days, I had a T-shirt which read, “Doesn’t expecting the unexpected make the unexpected the expected?” While it is an interesting piece of semantics, it has life applications as well. In our world today, something new and unexpected is always just around the corner. You either learn to deal with each new thing or you begin to fall behind where everyone else is headed.
The Bible is full of stories where the unexpected became the expected. Picture Moses tending sheep on the backside of the desert. He had fled Egypt after killing a slave-master. Suddenly, he sees a burning bush that isn’t being consumed. To top that, a voice began to speak out of the flame. I doubt Moses expected anything like that. Yet, after this event, Moses experienced event after event that defied human expectation. He began expecting the unexpected. And God did mighty work after mighty work through him.
Noah lived in a time when sin was running rampant in his area. God decided to save those who would follow Him and to destroy everyone else by water. God chose Noah to build an ark to save those who would follow Him and the animals of the world. You think Noah was expecting this? Remember, at this point in history, it had never rained and Noah lived nowhere near any sea or ocean. So when the fountains of deep opened up and buried everything, only his unexpected action saved his family. You think he began expecting the unexpected after that?
When Saul was condemning and confining the followers of Jesus, he never expected to have a life-changing event on the road to Damascus. When Jesus spoke to him and took his sight, I think he began expecting the unexpected. And God turned him into a great disciple to the gentiles.
When Lazarus was sick and dying, family and friends went to get Jesus, believing that He could heal His friend. Yet Jesus delayed his arrival and Lazarus died. No one expected anything from Jesus then. In fact, some seemed upset that He took too long to arrive to heal Lazarus. Instead, Jesus stood before the tomb of Lazarus and told him to come out. Do you think anyone was expecting the unexpected? They knew he was dead. In fact, his body had already begun to decompose leaving an unpleasant smell. When Lazarus actually walked out of the tomb, I believe that those people began expecting the unexpected.
When the time comes for Jesus to return triumphantly to Earth, most people won’t be expecting the unexpected. Because of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Matthew 24:36) But those of us who are expecting the unexpected know that when the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 24:37-39) They will not be expecting the unexpected. But they should be!
You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. (Matthew 24:44) So be expecting the unexpected so that the unexpected will become the expected.