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When the unexpected happens

Through,, Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, email, snail mail, personal visits, and phone calls, I receive interesting questions during the course of a week. Every question is important, and I am grateful when someone desires my opinion on various issues.

Recently, several people asked me this question: “What if ‘that’ had not happened? What would my life be like today?"

One very distraught lady recounted a tragic story that occurred in November 2012 when Hurricane Sandy ripped apart her story-book life. The home she cherished with her husband was heavily damaged by the storm and her husband worked night and day to try to salvage it.

However, about one week later, temperatures plunged, and an ice storm blanketed the area. Her husband continued to frantically fight to save the house even though the cold weather eventually contributed to his own death within the year.

Ten years later, she has little left from her old life except an ongoing mortgage note and taxes on a demolished home. Just last month, she was granted financial help to rebuild, but she still asked, “What if ‘that’ had not happened?”

Like most of us, she did not want “devastating interruptions” like a historic hurricane, severe illness, death of a spouse, financial hardship, or loss of housing, to upend her life. Many people who have had those staggering experiences may wonder how much better their life would be today, if they had not suffered that “devastating interruption” yesterday.

Let’s face it, that question cannot be answered. Who can know what else would have happened?

How about you? Are you the victim of a major setback long ago that continues to disturb your life today? Have you made peace with that “interruption,” or does it continue to bring sorrow?

Consider Psalm 37:23-24 NLT, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

God never forgot about you or let go of your hand. He was there in the tragedy, and remains by your side. Don’t abandon the God who saw you through the “interruption,” or disparage Him for the outcome.

Some final thoughts:

1. Release your emotions in a healthy and constructive manner – Proverbs 16:32

2. Be grateful that you made it through to tell the story – Psalms 107:21-22

3. Forgive yourself for not being able to control the outcome – John 13:7

4. Keep the Faith – 2 Timothy 4:7

Rest tonight knowing that the “what if’s” of the past and the “what if’s” of the future can be endured by embracing Romans 8:28 ESV, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

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