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Not What I Was Expecting

by Anita Miles

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 41:10

Have you had those moments when life is sailing smoothly, all is well, and you have contentment of soul - and then right out of the blue comes the unexpected that catches those sails and collapses them out of thin air? And right before your eyes lie the disheveled heaps of what was a life put together well.

It feels like the past few months have been full of unexpected surprises for us as a family. I’ll spare the details on our story, but I’ll give a little bit of an example to the last couple of events. I know there are better things to do in your life than read all of what I could write. But there was that Wednesday morning a couple weeks ago when my little 4 year boy woke up in respiratory distress from an unknown cause. It came on suddenly and had never happened before (and we pray it never does again). I wasn’t exactly prepared to start that day with paramedics standing inside my living room and an ambulance and firetruck parked in my driveway at 7 in the morning. Thankfully things worked themselves out very quickly and we were able to get to the bottom of it and get him to the Children’s Hospital safely without incident. It took an entire day for the effects of our adrenaline spikes for everyone in our family to settle down. There were some long sleepless nights that followed, and a few visits to the pediatrician before we saw the light at the end of the tunnel with improvement.

One week to the day of Levi’s medical event, I was sitting at my desk at work and looked down to see our landlord calling my cell phone. I answered to hear the news that our current rental house was getting put on the market and the realtor would be at our house within the week to take pictures and get it listed. That wasn’t exactly what I was prepared for, although we had discussed the possibility with our family more than once. I sat there for a stunned few seconds, called my husband and told him we had to begin the search for a new place to live and that we only had so much time to get it done. It wasn’t the end of the world, it was just not something we were expecting to have to manage in a week’s time. Once the shock kinda faded, we both set to work on trying to find a solution.

These couple of things that I’ve mentioned are just drops in a bucket compared to some of the things I know others are going through right now or have been through over the recent past. I do not discount any of their situations in the least. Nor do I want to insinuate that mine are life altering events. They aren’t. But they did kind of rearrange our “normal” quite a bit. They are unexpected hitches or bends in this thing we call life. Interruptions that we have absolutely no control of.

There is something that I’ve known but that has been confirmed in all of these different interruptions for us... Although my normal has been upended more than once very recently, not one time has any of this caught God off guard, nor has it changed His faithfulness. In all of it, He has been more than faithful to us. He calmed my sick boy at 3:00 in the morning when there was nothing we could do to help him. Within 3 days of finding out that we would be out of a home soon, we had - not one - but two homes become available to us. All we had to do was pick the one that made the most sense logistically for our family. If you know anything about the Savannah housing market right now, let’s just say, that fact is nothing less than miraculous. Sometimes it’s easy to get blindsided by the unexpected issues and lose sight of who God really is and how good He really is.

Speaking of being blindsided - consider Ruth and Naomi of old. They are some of my favorite characters of the Bible. Can you imagine being Naomi? Talk about some blows that had come her way! I’m sure it was easy for her vision to be a little lopsided. Can you imagine being in Ruth’s shoes? Here she is as a young widow grieving with her mother in law and sister in law over their profound losses. When Naomi decides she can no longer live in the despair that Moab has brought to her family, Ruth abandons the only culture she ever knew to go with her. She abandoned the only pagan god she had ever worshipped. She waved goodbye to all of her family and took off to follow after her spiritually defeated mother-in-law who was convinced God had turned his hand against her. But even in Naomi’s despair, there was something about Naomi’s God that Ruth found appealing.

Back in Bethlehem, here stands young Ruth trying to figure out how in the world she’s going to even survive. She just needed to be able to get a little bit of food for herself and her elder mother in law. I’m sure in her dreams as a young woman, Ruth never saw herself standing here as bewildered, broken, and alone as she felt. As much as Ruth never expected to find herself in this position, even more, she never expected that the God of Israel had His eyes on her. She didn’t feel very favored right then. Sometimes I wonder if she was so new in her belief system that she found herself briefly wondering if she had made the right decision by following Naomi and her God. But she was completely unaware that the tables were about to turn for the better.

In just a short time, the overwhelming fear of the unknown becomes an unbelievable feeling of gratefulness as a man she had never met before begins to leave handfuls upon handfuls of wheat for her purposefully. You see, God was in the details and He didn’t fail Naomi and Ruth when they needed Him the most. And I want to reassure you, that you, my friend, are no less favored than they. God will take just as much care of you as well.

In my family, when we’re all gathered together for Thanksgiving or other big events, there’s an old verse and chorus we always sing. We sang it at my grandmother’s bedside as she was saying goodbye to life on earth. We sang it the day we said goodbye to my grandfather while we were all huddled together on a dock at the lake. It is something we believe deeply. It goes like this…

“Be not dismayed whate'er betide

God will take care of you

Beneath His wings of love abide

God will take care of you.

God will take care of you

Through every day, o’er all the way;

He will take care of you

God will take care of you!

So I just wanted to drop in and give you this little reminder today in case LIFE threw you a curveball recently, or your sails are unraveling at the seams. In the unexpected moments and interruptions of life, if you look for God, you can find Him there. Not only does God care, but He is fully capable of taking care of you in any situation you find yourself. Just as He knew of Job, He knows the way that we take. Isaiah knew it too. He said it like this…. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. - Isaiah 41:10

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