DAY 57: Thursday 14 May
Good morning everyone
Yesterday morning, literally as I had pressed ‘send’ for the daily email to you all, a van pulled up outside and a box was delivered to our front door. Karen opened the door and brought the box inside commenting – ‘Somebody has sent you flowers!’ Now I don’t remember the last time anyone sent or gave me flowers, if ever, so it was intriguing and slightly concerning. Was another lady sending me flowers and if so, why, or even worse, were they from a man? By then I had reached the kitchen and read the address label that clearly said ‘Karen & Wesley Groves’ – what a relief!
We don’t know who sent them but whoever you are, many thanks and God bless you for your secret generosity and kindness – it was unexpected!
That got me thinking about unexpected events in life. Most of you will probably remember a TV series ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ which ran for 9 series in the 1980’s and were dramatizations of short stories by Roald Dahl. These series built on a natural human reaction that ‘the unexpected’ is something to be feared. Many TV programmes and movies depend on the elements of surprise and the unexpected to elevate the drama. Oscar Wilde wrote – “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” The dictionary defines ‘unexpected’ as ‘not expected’, ‘unforeseen’, or ‘surprise’.
I’m sure we can all remember times when we experienced ‘the unexpected’. Often the ‘unexpected’ is probably suspected, such as at Christmas, birthday or anniversary time. But then there are genuinely unexpected moments, both the good and bad that become etched into our memories as a pivotal moment in our life: an unexpected proposal of marriage, or an unexpected diagnosis of serious disease. At the beginning of this year, Karen and I were making plans for 2020. We already had a ‘big’ holiday booked for April but now we were studying the Caravan Club directory for places we could take our caravan during the rest of the year. We managed to book another tour of west Scotland, made ferry reservations and booked several campsites. Around the same time Karen produced a list of proposed 3GF minibus trips for the whole year to be circulated to anyone interested. Lots of provisional interest was registered and surprisingly, for some of the planned trips, most of the available seats were provisionally pre-booked. 2020 was shaping up to be a great year. Then the unexpected happened – coronavirus came – holidays and minibus trips had to be cancelled.
Our God is never caught out by the unexpected – He knows the beginning from the end. But Father God often allows us to be surprised by unexpected generosity from others (a box of flowers), or unexpected blessings from above. Life is an unpredictable journey full of twists and turns.
The good news is that while we don’t always know what’s going to happen, we can always trust that God uses everything in our lives as an invitation to rely on him more deeply and completely.
Whilst the world conditions us to fear the unexpected, God wants us to learn by faith to expect the unexpected.
If we don’t expect very much from God, we don’t get much from God.
The Bible is full of accounts of God moving the ‘unexpected’.
Jonah thought he’d escaped God on a boat sailing west into an unexpected storm.
Saul of Tarsus was heading towards Damascus on another mission to attack the Christians of that city. He was stopped short of the city by an unexpected vision of Jesus that left him totally blinded.
Matthew had opened his tax booth one morning for another day’s work when a man passed by. Then the unexpected happened – this diligent tax collector and servant of the Roman authorities simply shut up his place of work and left everything to follow Jesus.
Ephesians 3:20 - Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish the unexpected. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.
Linda Smith had a desperate call yesterday from Rose Bamber who was totally distraught following news that her brother Tony had died in hospital (Rose mentioned coronavirus but we’re not sure if that was the cause or not). Understandably Rose is distressed not being able to do anything or see him, and uncertainty surrounding funeral arrangements. Please remember Rose through these distressing days.
Sheila Hanks is still in Good Hope, in good spirits and still awaiting a bed to become available at the QE, possibly later this week.
Whilst most of us have not been in the Chapel for over 2 months, there are a few who do continue to check and look after the building and grounds to keep everything in good order for us. Tom and Mel were there yesterday afternoon and Mel took a photo of Tom mowing the back grass. Thanks to both of you…. That was unexpected!
MAKE YOU SMILE:
Many of you may remember the Dudley Earthquake of September 2002. I certainly remember the rattling of our bed headboard and wardrobe doors.
The following day, an emergency appeal was circulated –
At 00:54, Monday September 23rd, an earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter Scale hit Dudley England, causing massive disruption and distress to the population.
Many were woken well before their Giro arrived and several priceless collections of mementos from the Balearics and Spanish Costas were damaged
Three areas of historic and scientifically significant litter deposits were disturbed
Thousands of confused and bewildered residents are trying to come to terms with the fact that something interesting has actually happened in Dudley
One resident, Donna-Marie Dutton, a sixteen-year old mother of three said, “It was such a shock, little Chantal-Leanne came running into my bedroom crying. My youngest two, Tyler-Morgan and Megan-Storm slept through it. I was still shaking hours later when watching “Trisha”.
Dazed men were seen kneeling in the streets praying that Banks’s Brewery had not been damaged in the quake
Apparently looting carried on as normal
The British Red Cross have so far managed to ship 4000 crates of Sunny Delight into the area to feed the stricken masses.
Rescue workers, searching through the rubble, have found large quantities of personal belongings including forged Benefit Books and jewellery from ‘Elizabeth Duke at Argos’
PLEASE HELP THESE DESPERATE PEOPLE NOW>>>>
£2.00 will buy chips, scraps and blue pop for a family of four
£10.00 will send a family to Stourport for the day where children can play on an unspoiled canal bank among a national collection of stinging nettles
22 pence will buy a biro for filling-in spurious compensation claims
PLEASE E.MAIL YOUR CREDIT CARD DETAILS AND WE’LL DO THE REST! or you can donate cash at collection points in local branches of ‘Argos’, ‘Iceland’ and ‘Clinton Cards’
Apologies to any of you who come from or have connections with the good people of Dudley.