Dislocation of expectation

"... you do not even know what will happen tomorrow..." James 4. 14

That things often don't go according to plan shouldn't surprise us. It's the way life is. As people sometimes joke: "I'm glad I didn't know what lay ahead of me today, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered getting up!" A long sea paddle yesterday was like a metaphor for life: sometimes the water was calm then, without warning, it became choppy - and then calm again. In the Marines they called it: dislocation of expectation.

It can be stressful, not knowing what will happen next, because we are not in control. Yet worrying about what we cannot affect is no use. Especially when there is something we can do to mitigate the uncertainty - two things in fact. One is attitudinal: to expect the unexpected. The other is behavioural: to enhance our skills, so we are better prepared for recovery when things go wrong.

The Bible is full of examples of disaster and recovery. Indeed it might be said that the grand overarching narrative - of sin and redemption - is all about disaster and recovery. And this grand narrative plays out in as many micro-situations as there are people who are alive or who have lived. In the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12. 16-31), Jesus reminds us that we are not in control of our destiny. God is. So the best and only way to "future proof" our lives is to trust him wholeheartedly.

Trusting God means everything from believing his word to praising his name, from building our self-undertanding on his mercy to praying for his guidance. It also means developing the gifts and opportunities he sends our way, while prioritising the needs of others. It means working together for the advancement of his Kingdom, rather than seeking our own well-being and glory. And because we are committed to the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, obstacles can become stepping stones because the future is assured, even if we don't yet know how it's going to pan out...

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