A week ago Friday our good friends were in a terrible accident – totally unexpected. Their wrecked car is pictured here. Driving home from another town anticipating to get home, unload their car and make plans for the evening they unexpectedly found themselves shockingly being pulled from their vehicle and taken by ambulance to our county hospital.

Miraculously, according to the police officer on the scene and subsequent tests in the ER, they escaped death with no broken bones or punctured organs. In spite of the body trauma, abrasions, bruises plus ongoing pain they are alive and improving each day. They are praising God for His supernatural protection and grateful for the body of Christ who have come to help meet their needs.

How does one make sense of the unexpected?

We all know accidents happen. We cringe thinking and praying we are never in a wreck like that. We fear getting that phone call with horrific news of a death, a fatal disease diagnosis or a notice that your job has been terminated or the news that an unexpected fractured relationship is seemingly irreparable. We know God could have prevented this accident, but He did not. We live in a fallen world, and accidents happen.

Are they really accidents? Or are they carefully planned and orchestrated events to purposely become a part of that person’s life story, one with the proper response that can bring great glory to God?

Consider the unexpected news that Mary and subsequently Joseph received, all of which is recorded in the New Testament Gospels. Their lives were totally altered in God’s choice of Mary to be the one who would carry in a pregnancy the life of the very Son of God.  How did they respond?…humbly with acceptance and praise and doing the next thing quietly.

Consider the young unnamed girl from Israel who had been captured in battle with the Arameans and who served as a maid to the wife of Naaman commander of the King’s army. In the story in II Kings 5:1-13 this young girl, captured unexpectedly, became the instrument that God used to cure the King of his leprosy. She responded by offering the help of the prophet Elisha whom God used to cure the King of Israel’s enemy. Go figure that.

In the unexpected, a learned proper response could be to expect God in the unexpected.

Knowing that God is sovereign, knowing that He is perfect love, knowing that He provides for and takes of His children even in the most awful of circumstances gives great comfort in spite of the circumstances.

He is present with His children. He is present with us. He was present for our friends. He is with us even when we are overwhelmed, cannot see our way clearly and wonder how in the world we will survive the mess we are in.

When the future of Israel was really grim, Israel and Judah both had turned from God. God chose the Prophet Isaiah to give a warning to God’s people. I would say that in this situation Isaiah might have been overwhelmed, sad and angry. In spite of the coming Assyrian invasion Isaiah expected God – He said, “I will wait for the Lord who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob, I will put my trust in Him.” Isaiah 8:11“I will look eagerly for the Lord”.

While he is waiting God speaks truth to Isaiah, gives him a clear mandate and affirms him [Isaiah 8:13]“The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.” FEAR THE LORD, the Lord – not the Assyrians, not the culture, not an unknown fear.

Expect God in the unexpected.
Expect Him to continue to form you until you breathe your last breath.
Expect Him to go before you as He did with those in the scriptures and has in your previous life.

Expect Him to show up … expect it, be alert, anticipate, watch for Him.
God is all about continuing his work in us, for us and around us even when we do not seek or notice or are so focused on what we think our agenda should be or when we are so overwhelmed we do not think we can go on.

What will you do in the unexpected? How is it for you in the unexpected events you are facing right now? Do you have someone who will pray for you? Do you have a group who knows you well and will intercede for you during this unexpected event?

Is there some “one another” you can reach out to encourage and be there for who is in the middle of a huge unexpected “accident”?

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

Picture courtesy of Fredericksburg City Facebook Page

Gail Seidel served as Mentor Advisor for Spiritual Formation in the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and as an Adjunct Professor in the D Min in Spiritual Formation in the D Min Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a BA in English from the University of Texas, a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Seminary and a D Min in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a contributor to the textbook, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Kregel Academic. She served as co-director for Christian Women in Partnership Russia with Entrust, an international church leadership-training mission. She and her husband Andy live in Fredericksburg, Texas. They have 2 married children and 6 wonderful grandchildren--Kami, Kourtney, Katie, Mallory, Grayson, and Avery.


  • Gail Seidel

    Thank you…

    I can't imagine "going on" or even "entering in" without the confidence that God is the one in charge – espeically in the unexpected.