Dealing With Life’s Little (and BIG) Surprises!

We’ve all lived through them, life’s surprises - and survived. When the unexpected is our new reality, we have a choice to make even while we desperately try to suppress the urge to scream, “That’s not fair!” 

The choice: Miserable or Adaptable. 

If we focus on our unmet expectations and wallow in our misery, we’re bound to drag everyone else along into our spiral of gloom. When life throws us a curve, we will find greater peace if we can learn to adapt to the circumstances and re-evaluate what really matters in life – making the most of a tough situation.

This week, by God’s grace, the dream of a mini-vacation at the beach with all of our kids and grandkids became a reality. It was a 'God-thing' to even find a date and place that worked for everyone – at least for a few days! The week started off great. We arrived and started the process of decompression. The roar of the ocean does wonders for both of our stress levels. A few days later another family arrived, and then another. Our long-awaited reunion was to be complete the next day. And then, the power went out. No air conditioning. No lights. No fans. No microwave. No coffee maker. On no! It’s gonna be a rough start in the morning!

In contrast, if we were still at home and lost power, we’d have also lost all access to water - since our well is run by an electric pump. So, when we discovered that we still had running water our excitement grew! Who needs electricity, anyway? We can still use the toilets, water the dogs and take showers. Life is good! Before the day’s end we made fruit smoothies out of our rapidly melting ice cream (before it leaked out all over the freezer), and we went to bed a bit early since we hadn’t come prepared for a black out. The next morning brought daylight, lukewarm showers, flushing toilets (whew!) and we even found some hot coffee at a nearby store running on generator power. A good start to a new day!

Soon, the rest of the family arrived, and together we enjoyed a perfect afternoon at the beach! We had gorgeous weather and were blessed to watch the looming storm clouds head off into the distance. The waves were breaking just perfect and the kids – young and old – had fun riding the waves, playing in the sand and just enjoying time together. My joy in watching this special day unfold nearly brought me to tears. I continued to pray for safety (with no lifeguards on this remote beach) as I took in all the exuberance and surprised faces as the children successfully conquered their fears and explored God’s creation. For a few moments in time, God washed away all the cares of the world. A moment of tranquility. What a precious gift from God!

We returned to our 'home away from home' and soon discovered that our island had been issued a mandatory evacuation effective at 6 am the next morning. Our vacation had been officially cut short. Ugh! 

And then I was reminded of Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:15-16 challenging us to “make the most of every opportunity.” Now, I know that 'surprise kinks' in our vacation plans isn’t necessarily what Paul was referring to, but it is a principle that we can apply to all of life’s surprises. The full Ephesians' passage says this, “Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Paul has sandwiched these verses between quite a list of “dos” and “don’ts” in chapter 5. I’ll focus on a couple of the “do’s” and let you look up the “don’ts” if you’re so inclined. So, how do we live in wisdom and make the most of the opportunities God presents us with each day? Paul challenges us to…
  • Live a life of love.
  • Understand what the Lord’s will is.
  • Be filled with the Spirit.
  • Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.
  • Always give thanks to God the Father for everything.

Sooner or later we will all be caught up in a ‘mandatory evacuation’ – either when Christ returns or when He calls us home. If we’re not careful, we can really be caught off guard when dealing with life’s little (and BIG) surprises in the here and now. Satan is just waiting to rob us of our joy and opportunities to see God’s blessings in our lives. Don’t let the evil one cause you to miss even one blessing God has waiting for you. Make the most of every opportunity God sends your way and trust Him to bring you through – whatever comes your way!

Thank you, Father, for your abounding love and care. For your peace and provision. For your love and the gift of life. You are the Almighty God. The Everlasting Father. Praise be to Your name forever and ever!


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