Posted by: pastortomvabeach | February 26, 2013

Thought for the Week March 3, 2013

H.B. London, who pastored in California and Oregon for 31 years prior to serving as Pastor to Pastors for Focus on the Family Ministries for nearly 20 years, writes a blog called The Heart of a Pastor. His comments this week carry a message that is relevant to all of us. I thought it might give you something to ponder. So here is H.B. London’s blog, The Unexpected.

“By now, you have seen the reports and images of the spectacular multi-car crash that occurred Saturday, February 23, on the final lap of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive4COPD 300 race. A massive 28-car pile-up sent flying debris into a packed crowd at Daytona International Speedway, injuring ten drivers and at least 33 fans, and leaving a 14-year-old boy and a 53-year-old man in critical condition. Thankfully, both are now stable and out of danger.

“Twenty-year-old driver, Kyle Larson’s car was catapulted from the crash, flying high into the catch fence, which separates the track from tens-of-thousands of fans. The entire front end was sheared off Larson’s car, and his burning engine wedged through a gaping hole in the fence. Chunks of debris from the car were thrown into the stands at speeds nearing 190 miles per hour, including a tire that cleared the top of the fence and landed midway up the spectator section closest to the track. A forklift had to be used to extract his engine from the fence.

“One minute, racing fans were cheering excitedly as a close race was coming to an end. The next, people were screaming and running, calling for help or trying to assist those who had been hurt. Very unexpectedly, everything changed in a moment’s time.

“I have been witness to many events that suddenly and forever changed the lives of those involved. One moment, life was normal — the next, it was not.

“Suddenly! The world is complicated and, at times, laced with fear. Suddenly, a baby dies. Suddenly, a marriage is over. Suddenly, a job is lost. Suddenly, a diagnosis is made. Suddenly, a ministry ends.

“Yet, on the other hand, suddenly can also be positive and liberating. Suddenly, a baby is born. Suddenly, a marriage is reconciled. Suddenly, there is good news. Suddenly, a ministry is given new hope.

“How do we…react to those moments in our personal and professional lives when we are confronted with the unexpected? Are we ever really prepared for such times? I would suggest that one can better cope with ‘sudden moments’ when one is living consistently close to the Lord. I would further suggest that the rain and the sunshine touch all of us. I am reminded that this world is fallen, and we are admonished to be thankful, regardless of the situation. I believe we can be assured that the circumstances of our lives — difficult or pleasant — in no way change how God feels about us. I also know life is tough and, often, the greater witness for our Lord is in times of adversity.

“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man [suddenly] do to me?’ (Hebrews 13:6).”

How often have you faced something that “suddenly” changed the circumstances of your life? As Dr. London stated, the best way to handle what happens suddenly is to be in a moment by moment close relationship with the Lord. I imagine that is how Paul and Silas were able to cope when, after casting a demon out of a girl, the mob turned on them and they were thrown into the dungeon (Acts 16:16-24). Suddenly their mission trip was cut short, their ministry stopped, and their future was uncertain. But verse 25 says they prayed and sang praises.

How did they do that? I believe it was because they were living in a condition of constant contact with the Lord. Prayer, Scripture study and meditation, fellowship, regular worship, etc., all contribute to this active relationship. We don’t know what unexpected thing will happen in the next minute. The best preparation is to be close to Jesus. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

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