Some of you may have seen the photos of the smoky, blood-red skies over California this week. I can tell you those photos can’t fully convey the shock we felt waking up to find this otherworldly scene outside our windows. Even life-long Californians never expected something like this.
There’s an old Monty Python running gag, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.” While we haven’t seen the return of that infamous time in history, 2020 has held more than it’s share of the unexpected. From pandemics, riots, and freak weather events to more personal tragedies, we’ve all been subjected to one unexpected event after another.
I’m writing this on September 11, the nineteenth anniversary of the completely unexpected terrorist attacks on our country that destroyed the Twin Towers and many innocent lives. I remember watching the TV in horror as another plane crashed into the second tower. I couldn’t believe it was happening.
Denial is a common response to the unexpected events in our lives. “This never happened before, so it must not be happening now,” is our unspoken thought, even though life is absolutely filled with the unexpected.
“Nothing is certain except death and taxes,” we say, laughingly quoting Benjamin Franklin as if we don’t really believe what he wrote.
Actually, wise though he was, Franklin was wrong. Taxes may come and go, but only death remains absolutely certain.
This week my neighborhood suddenly looked like a scene from science fiction. Throughout the day, as the skies remained dark, there was more than one nervous joke about the End Times, Armageddon, and the Apocalypse. We joked as if we didn’t really believe our earthly life will ever end.
Our belief or lack of it, can never change the fact of our mortality. Just as our belief or lack of belief in God and the Biblical truth of eternal life has no impact on the reality.
You may scoff at the idea of Heaven and Hell and firmly believe there is no afterlife, but if God is real, you will be in for a shock. Finding your spiritual self in the presence of God will be the ultimate “unexpected” event.
What do you expect? Are you ready?
Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.1 Thessalonians 4:17 New American Standard Bible