No one knows. No one knows the day. No one knows the hour. I learn the reality of those three words almost every week. If I’m taking Tuesday afternoon off, it’s just as likely that something important will happen then as it will during Friday morning’s office hours.
Someone asked a young chaplain which day of the week is least busy at the hospital. “Is it Thursday? Nothing ever happens on Thursday, does it?” The chaplain thought differently. No one knows when the time will come for unexpected visitors, or a work shift change, or a difficult diagnosis, or a birth, or a death.
In Everything Happens for a Reason, Kate Bowler describes her journey through Stage 4 colon cancer as “living scan-to-scan.” She explains:
I’m in the managing-illness phase. I’m still figuring it out as I go along. And part of it has just been learning to see horizons in a beautiful way. I think part of the unexpectedness of life gives people more free license to do whatever they want without always imagining the consequence. So it’s been an odd mathematics to live life very intentionally.
We spend our days with an eye on the clock and the calendar. Even our prayers lean toward the result, or answer, or final outcome. Maybe we presume this is what intentional living means. But Kate Bowler makes me think that living intentionally means that we spend our best days actively and purposefully looking for God’s presence.
Over and over and over again, through prayers and scans and blessings and challenges, we learn that life doesn’t pay attention to the schedules we design. We also learn that day by day, hour by hour, God keeps watch with us.
When were you aware of God’s presence at a time when you didn’t even expect God to show up?
God, I don’t want to sleep through your presence beside me. I want to stay awake, so I may see you when I least expect you to show up in my life. Amen.