Unexpected events—a patch of ice on an otherwise clear roadway—a blown-out tire on the way to school—a budget-blowing expense on a broken-down household appliance—are so much a part of the ordinary fabric of life as to be regarded “common to man.”

What to do about the unexpected is a frequent, but often tabled, conversation. We are trained to practice “defensive driving.” We are told to “expect the unexpected.” “Safety first” is the motto of the workplace because “what can happen will happen.” Yet, in spite of our best efforts, we know that unexpected events inevitably come our way. So, we cover ourselves with insurance policies to handle nearly any eventuality. While these provide some measure of relief, they can never provide the peace required by the human heart.

But, there is a God who rises far above the temporal concerns of life—a God whose infinite power and resources reach far beyond “all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). Solomon rightly prescribes trust in Him as the key to handling life successfully. He says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Similarly, the apostle Paul directs God’s children to practice trustful prayer, saying, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Ph. 4:6–7).

Beyond the ordinary circumstances of life, there are several events for which we should practice anticipatory preparation. Briefly stated, we should expect that we will (1) suffer in some way for the cause of Christ (Jn. 15:18-20; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:1-5); (2) experience the second coming of the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:11; 1 Th. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10); and (3) if the Lord should tarry in His return, face the portals of death (Gen. 3:19; Rm. 5:12; Hb. 9:27). With God as a trusted-partner, these events can become happy surprises (Mt. 5:10-12; 1 Pet. 1:3-9; Rev. 14:13).