The unexpected things we receive in life are always the best.
I am mindful that this statement can be made for all things good, but the unwanted unexpected things that are unwelcome do not fit into the ‘always best’ category.
Recently I spoke at Encounter Community Church. Encounter is a new church plant in Ownesboro-Daviess County. Their intent is lead people to an encounter with Jesus Christ.
On Saturday, the University of Kentucky played Wisconsin in that unexpected NCAA Tournament journey. Volunteers from the church were building a new platform all day on Saturday and I dropped in to deliver homemade milkshakes and to watch the basketball game on their large screen televisions.
I joked on Sunday morning that I had been in church during the game Saturday night to make sure the communication lines were open between Heaven and Arlington, Texas.
The UK win over Wisconsin certainly was a surprise. The entire UK run in the NCAA Tournament was one of those unexpected things that was really good. Lots of folks who had no plans to visit the state of Texas in April had unexpected changes in their schedules.
On Monday night when the University of Kentucky faced the UConn Huskies the unwanted, unwelcome arrived and the youthful Big Blue Nation found themselves wishing they had not burned their couches earlier as they needed one to sit in and reflect after losing in the National Championship Game, 60-54.
When the unexpected good and exciting arrive and the unexpected, unwanted unwelcome bad arrives within such a short time frame the emotions can be a roller coaster, but the encounter is actually a friend.
This maybe shocking news, I only watched two UK games this year. UK-Michigan and UK-UConn. I did watch the final 7.2 seconds of the UK-Wisconsin game but not sure if that counts. I had been working upstairs and walked downstairs to gather something when I witnessed the final seconds on the television that was playing.
This year for Christmas, my sister and brother-in-law gave me a Wildcat T-Shirt. It actually is the only such shirt in my wardrobe. I am not anti, I just do not have a big blue passion like others. I do find it fun to throw out the Kentucky basketball facts as the history is impressive, fan or no fan.
Finding a way to use the unexpected moments in life to our full advantage can be challenging. While the focus might highlight the best of things, it could be best for us individually if we focused on the not so welcome things.
Learning to use those type of experiences to grow through, and incorporate into the integrity and character of who we are, and what we believe might be the best thing to do. Instead, sadly often the focus is on the negative, what didn’t happen and all the ‘what if’s’ of life.
Speaking at Encounter Community and focusing on their name and meaning I began to think about all the encounters Jesus had with people and all the life changing moments that occurred.
There was Saul, a persecutor of Christians until he had an encounter. We now know him as Paul in the Bible. Zacchaeus was a tax collector whose life was changed because of his encounter. His heart change most interesting included him leading a group to speak with Joseph of Arimathea, the disciple who would give up his death tomb so Jesus could be properly buried after being crucified.
The Samaritan women who met Jesus at Jacob’s well had a changed life too, all because of an encounter. Andrew and James, brothers who were fisherman had an encounter and followed Jesus. They left their fishing nets after one conversation. The list of folks whose lives were changed because of an encounter are endless and whose stories are powerful because of the experience.
The Wildcats might not have won a national title or championship, but the experience and lessons of the journey might be worth a million dollars in life-living. How we deal with our unexpected, welcome and unwelcome things in life makes all the difference in what happens after the fact. Embrace the encounter, it is a key to something unexpected, positively.