by Mike Johnson
A few years ago while walking; I saw a squirrel fall from a tree. This is something that I never expected to see. I have often watched squirrels perform all kinds of amazing acrobatic feats. I have seen them do a tightrope walk across a telephone wire; I have seen them jump from the nimble branch of one tree to the nimble branch of another tree; I have seen them make all kinds of graceful jumps, climbs, and hops. I am amazed at all that they can do. However, I never expected to see one fall! It happened as the squirrel jumped from one tree to another. It may have misjudged the distance or perhaps the strength of the branch on the other side. The squirrel fell from quite a distance up, doing a “belly-buster” as it hit the ground. The squirrel seemed unhurt. He got up apparently unscathed and perhaps a little embarrassed. I just never expected to see a squirrel fall; it was something that, in my mind, was not supposed to happen.
There are a lot of things that happen but are not expected to happen. It has been said, “You can expect the unexpected.” The following is a list of some things to think about which people do not expect to happen but often do.
The FAILURE OF A MARRIAGE
The Bible teaches that marriage is to be for life. In Matthew 19:6, Jesus said, “…What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder...” Jesus said, in Matthew 5:32, “…whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” Many people understand this passage; they intend for their marriage to last a lifetime, and they never expect it to fail. However, in spite of expectations, marriages sometimes do fail. The success of a marriage is not automatic. Marriage must be entered into with a determination that the relationship is to last for a lifetime. Also, two people must work to make sure that their marriage is a success. If they do not, the unexpected may happen; the marriage may fail.
CHILDREN WHO GO ASTRAY
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Ephesians 6:4 says that children are to be brought up “…in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Christians should greatly desire and expect that their children will grow up and become faithful Christians. Again, this is not automatic, so it is important that parents teach and train their children in the Lord’s way. If they do not, their children may fail in the most important part of their life, which is their relationship with God.
PREACHERS WHO PREACH FALSE DOCTRINE
Preachers are to preach sound doctrine (II Tim. 4:3, Titus 2:1). They have a very important responsibility. Many will listen to a particular preacher over a period of time and gain confidence in him. Their confidence, however, may ultimately produce complacency as they stop being on guard against false doctrine. Consequently, they neither “try the spirits” (I Jn. 4:1) nor “search the scriptures daily” to see if what is taught is correct (Acts 17:11).
STRONG CHRISTIANS FALLING
Christians are commanded to grow (II Pet. 3:17,18). Many Christians do grow, and they become strong and mature as children of God. Most everyone knows that there is a chance that a weak Christian can fall. However, we do not expect it of a spiritually mature Christian. It is not automatic that even a strong Christian will remain faithful all of his life. Paul, who obviously was a strong Christian, said in I Corinthians 9:27, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” He also warned, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (I Cor. 10:12) Are you a strong Christian? If so, do not take it for granted that you cannot fall, but instead take heed, be careful, and continue to grow (II Pet. 1:5-11)
BEING LOST ETERNALLY
The Bible clearly teaches that the lost will dwell an eternity in hell (Mt. 25:46). Many people believe in some sort of punishment after death, but very few people view hell as a threat to them. A survey showed that only 1% of our population felt that hell was a threat to them. Almost everyone expects to be saved even though they are not Christians or are not faithful Christians. In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Many people expect to be saved but will not be. Salvation is not automatic.
Christians need to be on guard. It is not automatic that our marriage will be a success, our children will grow up to be faithful Christians, preachers will always preach the truth, Christians (even strong ones) will remain faithful and never fall, or that we will go to heaven instead of hell. We must not assume too much in any of the above areas. Remember the story of the squirrel. Things often happen that we never expect to happen.