Tales of the Unexpected

During my childhood, one of the most compelling TV programmes was an adaption of Roald Dahl’s “Tales of the Unexpected”.  These stories were full of the unexpected, hidden twists and daring endings – and nothing at all like real life!

My own tale of the unexpected happened following a wonderfully relaxing holiday abroad.  After a five hour journey from southern France, we returned via Eurostar, we unexpectedly faced a fifteen minute delay to our arrival at St Pancras Station.

St_Pancras_Railway_Station-403

This short delay to our arrival meant that we missed our connection across the city, and thus our intended train home. The only option was to catch the very last train leaving after midnight and arriving back home in the early hours of the morning.  All this followed a full day of traveling, I was tired and just wanted to be safely home.

If I’m honest, my initial reaction was one of frustration and anger.  Frustration about the poor time-keeping of the train, anger that I was left to find my way home at such a late hour.  As expected, I arrived at Waterloo station just three minutes after my intended train left the station and with a long wait until final train departed.

As I found a seat to watch all the comings and goings around the station, the promises of God started to come to my mind.  It began to dawn on my mind that although this wasn’t what I had planned, that God had foreknew from the beginning of time that this was going to happen.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10

If this was true and I believed His Word, couldn’t I hope for some positive to come from this, even expect it?  As my mind came into alignment with God’s word, remembering His promises, I was able to pray and ask God to show me the opportunities He had prepared for me.

As I boarded the train, I was expectant that an opportunity would present itself. Most unusually for me, I was drawn into conversation with a young man who, it transpired, was searching spiritually.  We spoke for quite some time, bringing some encouragement from God back into his life.

On arrival at the station, elated as I was by this God-encounter, I walked a few steps behind a young woman walking home from the station in the dark streets.  Prompted by the Holy Spirit, I was offered a lift home across the city, one woman to another, which she accepted.  I was thankful to be able to deliver her safely to her home, aware of the dangers on a city’s streets at that hour of night.

My change of attitude brought an opportunity – one which I was thrilled to experience, as God reached out and touched lives through me.

Life often brings us unexpected happenings.  Each time this happens we are faced with a choice, to trust Him that He is in the situation, or to panic and wonder how we can cope with it.

Here’s what your Father has to say about this:-

“No need to panic over alarms or surprises …. because God will be right there with you’, he’ll keep you safe and sound.”  Proverbs 3:25-26 (The Message)

Next time you find yourself facing the unexpected, whether in a hospital waiting room, a train station, or elsewhere, it’s time to make a choice.  Will you choose to hold on to His promise and look out for any God-opportunities He may be sending your way?

(Image credit Colin, Wikimedia)

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More Than Just A Lucky Dip

OK, it’s time to be really honest.  Have you ever gone to God in prayer not really expecting an answer?  Or had a problem you weren’t not sure He had a solution to?

If we’re honest, we sometimes believe that our problems are too insignificant for God to concern Himself with.  Or maybe we think our challenges are too complex and difficult for Him to resolve.

Of course, we don’t actually say these things out loud, or even acknowledge them, it’s the reality of our daily lives as we try and sort out situations and difficulties when we should trust in and rely on God instead.

It reminds me of the childhood game, called Lucky Dip, that we used to play at school fairs and parties.

lucky-dip-flickr

However, the original lucky dip of my childhood was a far more certain affair. In a large box of wood shavings, small gifts and trinkets were hidden. When your turn came, you pushed your hand into the shavings and rooted around to try and find a gift to take
home with you.

Often I became disheartened, as I couldn’t seem to find anything as my hand rooted  through the shavings.  Even coming close to tears, thinking that just as I had arrived at the stall they’d run out of gifts, despite seeing every other child who came to the Lucky Dip leave with a gift.   Yet deep down I knew that if I persisted that I would find a gift of some sort.

Maybe that was part of the pleasure, which made this one game so memorable above the others, the fear of disappointment, yet the certainty of receiving something.

Sometimes this is how we can view prayer, or relying on God – as a bit of a modern-day lucky dip as to whether we’ll receive an answer or not.  The truth is that if we are looking to Him, there is, just like the old-fashioned game, always an answer, always a promise to hold on to.  It’s our job to be persistent in looking for His answer.

Whatever we come to him with in prayer, there’s always an answer and a promise to remember and take away with us.

It may be “My grace is sufficient for you” or “Trust in The Lord”.

Perhaps He is saying, “Be still before The Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7)?

Is He whispering “For I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm you” (Jeremiah 29:11)?

Or is He calling to you in the storms of life, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid”
(Joshua 1:9)?

For each situation or challenge that we face, there is an answer and a promise from God to help us through it, to show us how to face it and to encourage us that He is on our side.

What promise does God want to remind you of today?

 

Thanks to Rowie K & Flickr for the image

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