It happens when you least expect it! Your normal routine is altered by events that you did not foresee and could not avoid. Everything that seemed stable and secure becomes unstable and insecure in the blink of an eye, leaving you reeling from the consequences of the upheaval. There are positive steps to be taken in the future, but first you have to regain your sense of balance and perspective. You have been the recipient of SUDDEN CHANGE.
I took an unexpected leave of absence from writing this blog over the past 4 months or so because of such a change. My life was thrown into a turmoil by the unanticipated loss of a job I loved. That change came unexpectedly and virtually without warning, leaving a hole in my heart that I had never experienced before. Most recently, I have been stunned once again by an unexpected change – this time an unforeseen hospitalization and a medical diagnosis I didn’t want to hear. Life as I knew it has been suddenly, dramatically altered by the course of these events. As a result of these circumstances, my life has been changed, whether I wanted it to or not. I’m still somewhat in shock by how fast it has all happened.
SUDDEN CHANGE comes into all of our lives…….and usually when we least expect it. Trust me, I know I’m not unique; you’ve experienced it too! Whether it’s the loss of a job, a financial setback, a health issue, a broken relationship, or a myriad of other things that can go wrong in life, we all know the gasp of dismay and disbelief when life turns us upside down. Plans that we had laid may now have to be thrown out the window as we adjust to this new, unwelcomed reality. It’s not that we don’t have some choices moving forward, because we know we do. But those choices now are much different than they were before our unwelcomed guest, SUDDEN CHANGE, came into our lives.
In football they practice in advance for such SUDDEN CHANGE in an actual game. They practice for how it will impact their defense when the offense turns over the ball, especially deep in their own territory. And they practice for how the offense will take advantage of the unexpected break created by their defensive teammates. In essence, they expect that those moments are going to come, so they want to have a plan in place in advance to work through them.
When you think about it, there is some wisdom to that kind of approach to SUDDEN CHANGE. As bewildering as life can be sometimes, when those unpredicted moments happen we should have a plan in place to face the changes they bring. Whether the change puts us on the offense or the defense, we can often determine in advance how we will adjust to life circumstances that come out of the blue. Preparation in advance may prove to be the difference when the actual negative situation hits.
In my case, and I’m sure in many of yours, that preparation starts with my relationship with God. When life throws unforeseen curveballs at me I have learned to depend on my faith in God to see me through the latest crisis. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In 2 Corinthians 12:9 He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made in weakness.” I don’t have to have it all together when SUDDEN CHANGE happens as long as I stay connected to the ONE who has promised to walk with me through such disturbing circumstances. Yes, I may be momentarily startled by what happens — the loss of my job, the unexpected hospitalization, or even a somewhat scary diagnosis —-but that fear gives way to faith when I have prepared in advance to keep my relationship with God strong and intact.
I know I don’t have it all figured out, but I sense I’ve discovered what so many others who have gone before me learned through their own difficult circumstances. I may not be able to foresee or prevent SUDDEN CHANGE from coming into my life, but I can face it head-on with confidence because I have faith that has prepared me in advance for such moments of challenge.
We all walk through the “valley” sometimes……often caused by a SUDDEN CHANGE. We don’t have to enjoy that experience, but we need to know we can survive it. The stormy bleakness of the moment will give way to a rainbow of promise as we put our trust in God. As one recent Christian songwriter put it, “Fear you don’t own me……”.
Change happens…..sometimes “unexpectedly”, “unforeseen”, “unpredicted”, “unwelcomed”, “bewildering”…………..SUDDENLY! But it doesn’t need to define us or our future. We need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, assess the situation, and then confidently move forward in faith, trusting the only ONE who can help us find our way through the wreckage and chaos of the situation. Who knows…..perhaps this change is just what He will use to bring us into a bright new future.