Facing the Unexpected
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
One of the healthiest ways we can deal with the unexpected when it arises, is to do what our parents taught us a long time ago; we need to be honest about it. That means that we need to be honest about what happened. We need to be honest with ourselves about the feelings that we are feeling. We need to face them, in all of their enormity and sadness. Facing them, and walking through them, allows us to experience healing that is deep and real.
If we can be honest about the difficulties and our feelings, it actually allows us to reflect upon life in such a way that we can learn from it and make different choices for the future. I have been reading a book called Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims. It is a book about people who have had a tragedy in their life and the different ways they dealt with it. One of the stories in the book is about Joanne Vogt.
She says, “Several years ago on Thanksgiving weekend my sister Jeanette was killed in a car accident, along with her girlfriend. It was drunk-driving and the offender had a pattern of that. My sister and I were best friends.
“It’s like a twister coming through your house. You slowly have to clean up, fix the broken pieces, replace things. Eventually, your home will be your home again. But it takes a long time . . . for the first month I blacked out. I was just in shock and numb. I now think of this as a shield God gives us to protect us in those first couple of weeks.
“Eventually I started taking charge of my life again. I didn’t have my sister anymore so I had to find a counselor I could talk with. I also decided that I wanted to meet the person who hit and killed my sister. I wanted him to meet her and see what she looked like and hear about who she was.
“He was willing to talk with me. But he was pretty stuck on himself. I didn’t like his attitude. He was sorry that he was going to be in prison when his child was born. He couldn’t get past that I was never going to be there when my sister got married or that she would never have her first child. It wasn’t the most satisfying conversation.
“However, at the end of the conversation, I told him that I forgive him. I realized, who am I to judge? That is between him and God. I realized that for me to heal, I needed to look to God. I needed to walk through my pain.
“I believe that God wasn’t going to let me fall. He’d let me do the grief. He’d let me go through the mourning. He’d let me be angry, but I knew through all of this, as foggy as it all seemed, he was there and would carry me through.”
Joanne’s story is a beautiful story of learning to walk with God, to choose God as we face the unexpected. Because the unexpected comes.
Gracious God, thank you for walking with us when the unexpected happens. Guide us each day to live for you and to let you live through us. Help us to make a difference for you in the situations we are in and with the people that you send to us. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.