The bewildering thing of the unexpected happening is that it is so unexpected.
The highs and lows of our lives are often triggered by surprises. Within seconds we are sobbing or laughing — staring in bemused confusion or wishing we would wake up from a bad dream.
Want to pause to trace some surprises through the Bible? Let’s, shall we?
The Book is full of them when you look at certain events through the eyes of people in that day.
Examples . . .
When Adam and Eve came upon Abel’s fresh grave.
When Enoch’s footprints stopped, bang! Suddenly.
When Noah’s neighbors first realized it wasn’t just sprinkling.
When past-prime Sarah said, “The angel wasn’t kidding, Abe!”
When Moses heard words coming from a bush that wouldn’t stop burning.
When Pharaoh’s wife shrieked, “He’s dead! Our son is dead!”
When manna first fell from the sky.
When water first ran from the rock.
When Jericho’s walls came tumbling down.
When a willing whelp named David downsized a whopping warrior named Goliath.
When a judge named Samson said yes instead of no.
When a prophet named Jonah said no instead of yes.
When a Samaritan woman heard a Jewish Stranger tell her all her secrets.
When the disciples discovered that Judas was guilty.
When the only perfectly innocent One who ever lived was nailed to a criminal’s cross.
When Mary saw Him through the fog that very history-splitting Sunday morning.
And that’s just a quick review of the outtakes. If we had time to enjoy the whole Cinerama, we’d be up past midnight, then some. It’s whiplash and flabbergast grand central right up to the end.
Speaking of the end, that last scene will be the greatest shock of all. Talking about “the flash of a mighty surprise!” How does “like a thief in the middle of the night” strike you? How about, “in a moment . . . in the twinkling of an eye”? Gives me butterflies just writing those words. Imagine all our open mouths, bulging saucer-like eyes, spine-tingling chills high up in the clouds! Fear of heights? Cured.
Jesus’s return will be the absolute greatest surprise.
Well, maybe I better not say that. The greatest surprise is that people like us will be included in the group, stunned and dumb with wonder. That won’t be just a surprise or a dream. That will be a miracle proportionate of only One. Who is able.
- Scripture… 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.
14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
In the last sentence the Apostle Paul prompts us, “Therefore, encourage one another with these words.” In what way do you take encouragement from these words? Anybody you can encourage with this same reminder?
In the same way, we can take encouragement from being reminded that the Lord is present with us in real time now and daily. Do you practice the presence of God in your daily life?