9-2-2018 Expect the Unexpected


September 2, 2018


I owned an AMC Gremlin in the mid 70’s. In fact, I owned 2. This one was plum color and reflecting back that’s exactly what I looked like coming down the road… a rolling purple plum. Surprisingly, it was actually a good car though and wasn’t all that bad to drive.


About the time I bought it my employer asked if I would consider managing a power distribution project for Consumers Power Company in the Muskegon area. It would involve working out of the Muskegon district office for an extended period of time. The offer sounded good, so I accepted. Since the district office was well north of Muskegon and my folks had a cabin south of Big Star Lake near Baldwin I decided to stay there and commute each day. What it meant was commuting the 50 or so miles cross-country over snow and ice-covered dirt back roads twice daily.


All went well the first few months. But soon the snow piled up along the roads and where the snow plows pushed snow further back off the road edge to make room for more snow they created about a 9-inch-high iced berm. That berm would be my downfall. What happened, happened in a flash… I remember it to this day. In fact, I still see it in slow-motion recalling how unprepared I was for what was about to take place.


It was early morning as I came to a long progressive incline about 15 miles south of the trailer. I had navigated it twice daily for several months by that time. I wasn’t unfamiliar… there was no surprise. I can remember as I topped the incline there was a right bend in the middle of one of the few treeless portions of the route. Without trees restricting wind flow the wind would whip smartly across the open field. When combined with even the slightest amount of sun melt it created shear ice out of an otherwise unobtrusive snow pack. As I hit the bend the wind whipped hard, the tires lost traction and the action began.


My first inclination that something was amiss was when I suddenly saw in my windshield, road that had just seconds prior, been in my rear-view mirror. Then it was gone… then it was back… then it was gone again. Around and around I went like a top spinning across a smooth polished table surface. I was unprepared and all I could do was hold on white-knuckled at the mercy of the event.


Things changed in a blink of an eye as suddenly both tires on the driver’s side of the car hit that ice berm simultaneously and I was no longer spinning… now I was rolling. Over I went. It seemed like an eternity but finally I stopped. To my surprise I was looking at blue sky through my passenger window. Yes, the car was on its side… driver’s side down. I just sat there… alone… shook-up, but unhurt… in the eerie silence of the consequences of a sudden, unexpected event.


As I reflect back I am impressed that too often in our spiritual travels we’re caught off guard as the unexpected sneaks up on us. It can happen within the familiar and the unfamiliar… tragically it even happens on “spiritual roads we’ve successfully traveled before”. Oh, God has warned us to be cautious… He’s pointed out the conditions to watch for… yet away we go, oblivious to His heeding. In our modern vernacular we might even admit that we should “expect the unexpected”. Yet we don’t. The familiar is just too comfortable and garnishes all our attention. And because of that, too often the consequences of the “unexpected” sends us spinning and rolling and our response is to “just hang on white-knuckled”.


How do you respond when suddenly and unexpectedly something happens in your life? Do you just hang on at the mercy of the situation or have you prepared in advance to meet the unexpected head-on? Have you spiritually prepared for the trials of life? And are you confident enough to persevere to the honor and glory of your Lord?


James 1:12 (NASB)
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry