Monday, July 18, 2011

Unexpected Occurrences

You always hear to "expect the unexpected" but you never quite take it to heart. Typically this is a phrase that people try to package as a nice way to say that the big decisions in life will not turn out the way that are you thinking such as marriage, children, etc. Being a few years into my adult years I have come to terms with that whole idea and learned that unexpected occurrences will pop up from time to time that you have no control over.

This past weekend my family has experienced one of those occurrences as we have set our lives up to move to South Asia. We have been told that we would go to for training at the end of July and be there for eight weeks. We have quit our jobs, rented out our house, gotten rid of all of our possessions, and our current insurance will run out at the end of this month. So everything is cool right? Wrong!

Thursday we get an email telling us that we will be going to training in October instead of next week. I was not only shocked by this unexpected occurrence, but I questioned whether or not it was a joke. Since I received this email I have gone through a mix of emotions as I realized the potential for my family to be homeless, jobless, and without insurance.

A couple of quick observations. First, this gives the organization a bad name, which ultimately reflects Christ giving him a bad name. Second, this puts a nasty taste in the mouth of those that are within the church, but especially those outside the church as they get a bad image of how believers sometimes treat each other.

In all of this I have not questioned God's sovereignty because I believe and know that God is sovereign over everything. Rather it has caused me to push forward to have hope that this can all be worked out so that we will be at our training at the original stated time. It does not surprise me one bit that the enemy would use any means of attack, including an organization, on us because of what we are about to go and do in the name of Jesus.

So if you are a follower of Christ then be ready to expect the unexpected occurrences in your life as God will call you to things that the enemy will attempt to stop. The important thing to remember is that God is sovereign over your life and every situation that you encounter. Learn to trust Christ in the unexpected occurrences realizing that Christ is what you truly need!


  1. Matthew,

    Father Anastasios here. I'm sorry to hear that you've experienced such a shock, so soon before you are about to begin your work.

    It must especially be hard, reading the book of Acts and seeing the early Christians sharing all in common, to then face the prospect of having your world turned upside down, by Christians, and by email, at that.

    I'd like to make two observations. I will not offer any trite platitudes or simplistic ideas to fix your situation. That would add insult to injury. However, I think you are right on target about keeping your eyes focused solely on Christ, and I want to offer two thoughts that will help in that regard.

    The first thought is, perhaps the Lord allowed you to suffer this at the beginning of your foreign mission work, so that you will know from day one to trust Him and not an organization. This may be a way for you to keep focused on Christ and work through all challenges with Him at the helm, instead of trusting other people to keep your life on target, people who may in fact not be following Christ's will in some areas. I am not suggesting that we "go it alone," especially given that as an Orthodox Christian, I believe in a visible, authoritative Church, but a missions organization is not that, and even in the Church, we have humans who through sin undermine the Lord's work even with the best intentions. Hence, we must not become too comfortable simply relying on others, even if we do need others in our Christian walk.

    Secondly, perhaps though this, God will allow the charity of other Christians to shine forth, and by one disadvantageous situation, you will be blessed many times over with support from others: family, friends, fellow church members, even anonymous Internet readers of your blog. Perhaps this is a way for the average Joe to pitch in with your ministry in a way that would not have happened before.

    My thoughts are not original, not all that creative, and possibly not even helpful to you. But I offer them sincerely in the hopes that whatever the "reason," you will soon understand the Lord's purpose, and will benefit from this setback, being more prepared than before to face the challenges of your calling.

    Yours in Christ,
    Fr. Anastasios

  2. I appreciate your observations and insight as you point out a very key fact in that this will allow us to turn our eyes to Christ who is the sole provider, not an organization. We will hopefully know by tomorrow as to our immediate fate and we are trusting in God in this and trying not to worry.