Not unexpected great expectations

By Rev. Dr. Howard S. Russell, CHM President & CEO

From the June 2019 issue of Heartfelt Magazine.

“Unexpected” is a word that we encounter with unexpected frequency.

The headlines tell us a rise or fall in unemployment, inflation, or the actions of a political figure or government are often unexpected. An example: “Unemployment rate unexpectedly falls.” In reality unemployment can only do a few things: rise and fall a lot or a little or stay pretty much the same.

Therefore, the question becomes: Was the event itself unexpected? Or was the person or persons doing the analysis surprised, therefore rendering the event unexpected? Those are two very different things.

Not long ago I read an article in which, as the result of an accident, the headline said someone had “unexpectedly” died. Of course it was unexpected. The individual didn’t die “expectedly” from the accident. Please understand that I’m not making light of a tragic situation; rather, it’s an illustration of how frequently “unexpected” is used.

And often, there’s a medical reason.

Anyone who has ever been in a Sunday school class, a prayer group or other assembly of believers has heard these kinds of statements:

  • “They were on vacation and her husband unexpectedly had a heart attack. He had no history of heart trouble.”
  • “My friend seemed fine, but unexpectedly the doctor told her that she has cancer.”
  • “I haven’t been feeling well lately, but the diagnosis of diabetes was completely unexpected.”
  • “My sister-in-law said that my brother went to sleep normally, without signs of any problems, but in something completely unexpected, he never woke up.”


My guess is that at this moment you’re likely nodding your head in agreement, having heard similar statements being shared in any number of venues. Each time there are two main reactions: praying for the people affected and perhaps praying that we won’t encounter the same situation.

But, we might, unexpectedly.

That’s why it’s a comfort and a joyful reality that, as Christians, we have built our house upon the rock of the Lord Jesus Christ. Winds may batter, earthquakes may shatter and circumstances may tatter our lives, but because we hold onto the rock, we provide an example of faith to the world and know we are never, ever alone.

I don’t really know why bad things happen to good people. I don’t really know why good things happen to bad people and why it rains on both the just and unjust. For both, there are a multitude of explanations inside and outside the faith arena. Our role isn’t to expect riches, health and glory; our role is to be faithful to God.

As the great writer C.S. Lewis said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Another “expectation” in which you can have confidence is Christian Healthcare Ministries. The ministry is here for you precisely because it’s made up of people like you, believers in the Son, followers of the Messiah, who show we are Christians by our love. Each time you send a financial gift, each time you pray for a fellow member, each time you write a note of encouragement or condolence, each time you talk about how Christians are following the New Testament example of meeting each other’s needs, you’re showing you are a Christian by your love.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. God loves us, and because of His love we have confidence in our future. We live and move and have our being in His service and for His glory, now and forevermore.

And that, brothers and sisters, is a great—and not unexpected—expectation.

©2019 Christian Healthcare Ministries. All rights reserved.