We stand at the beginning of a new year.  So what are your expectations for 2013?  Let me make a few suggestions about what to expect.

Expect the Unexpected

A friend of ours recently gave us a book entitled Unexpected – Navigating Life’s Unforeseen Turns by Minnesota Pastor Ken L. Roberts. It is a book well worth reading.  It reminds us that unexpected things do happen in life. Life can take some unexpected turns. Beyond that God can initiate his own surprises. The unexpected can be good things happening.  They can also be things we probably would not call good, even though, according to the promise of Romans 8:28 they can work together for good.

Over the years I have come to expect and even to look for the unexpected, especially the ones that God initiates. Most of the major changes in our lives, like the call to move from Australia to America, came unexpectantly.

Likewise these last two years our family has experienced some unexpected and devastating experiences. Now the key is not what happens to us but how we react to the events that come our way especially when they result in tests and trials. James advises us how to handle the unexpected adversities – ‘consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete. (James 1:2-4)

Expect a Miracle

I believe it was Oral Roberts who first used this phrase and I like it.  Our God is the God of miracles. No matter what happened in the past or where you are in the present, have hope for the future and expect a miracle.  Don’t give up. Hold on to hope because we cannot live without hope.  Ken Roberts had this to say about hope.

“A saying I coined several years ago, I find to be even truer today.  Dreams disconnected from reality lead to delusion, but the demanding realities of life disconnected from dreams lead to despair. Dreams provide hope, and hope is essential for life. Whether we fulfill all of our dreams or only a portion of them, in some ways is secondary. Having dreams and keeping them alive while navigating through life is what’s important and even essential, for our very survival. Charles Swindoll uses these poetic words to further describe our basic need for hope. ‘Take from a man his wealth, and you hinder him; take from him his purpose, and you slow him down. But take from man his hope, and you stop him. He can go on without wealth, and even without purpose, for a while. But he will not go on without hope.’

So hold on with hope and faith and expect a miracle.

Give Life All you Have

No matter what unexpected things happen let us give life all we have. Ken Roberts shares a story in his book about the great violinist Izak Pearlman.

“At a charity reception Mr Pearlman stood in a roped off area greeting guests as they filed by.  As one of the guest shook hands with the violinist he said, ‘Mr Pearlman you were phenomenal tonight.  Absolutely amazing.’  Pearlman smiled but said nothing.  The man continued, ‘All my life I have had a great love of the violin, but I have never heard anyone play the violin as brilliantly as you did tonight.’   Pearlman smiled again, but said nothing, and the man continued, ‘You know Mr Pearlman, I would give my whole life to be able to play the violin like you did tonight.’  Pearlman smiled again and said, ‘I have.’

When the unexpected comes your way, good or bad – when you are expecting a miracle we need to be playing our part. We need to give it all we have; we need to seize the moment. We have to be willing to step our in faith and accept the new challenges that come our way.

It takes commitment, dedication, patience, perseverance, even sacrifice to be all that we are meant to be.  By the grace of God, let’s remember ‘The Best is yet to be.’

So in 2013 expect the unexpected.  Expect a miracle and give life all that you have.  

Have a great year with God in 2013. 

About the book Unexpected – Navigating Life’s Unforeseen Turns

Using his own story, as well as thirty plus years of pastoring hundreds of others during adversity and tragedy, Ken Roberts tells of his wife’s unexpected death but more than that he seeks to help people to wisely traverse through the unexpected.  To order the book or learn more about the author go to www.KenLRoberts.com.