Hello my friends!  Happy Summer time to everyone in the North America region.  Wow we are almost about to enter the 7th month of the year!  It’s time for another encouragement friendly episode. The subject on my heart today is “Grace for the Unexpected”.  Have you ever had a major project or task just fall into your laps unexpectedly?  What about a family member of close friend who needed your urgent assistance out of nowhere and certainly not planned?  Ah I am sure we have all had to tackle those unexpected circumstances at one point or another and some of us more often than we would like to.  Do you recall if you have specifically prepared yourself to handle those unexpected moments or did you go into panic mode?  I recently completed a study on the book of Nehemiah and boy oh boy does he absolutely embody what it means to have grace for the unexpected.  You see in late autumn one year while Nehemiah was faithfully serving as the cup-bearer under King Artaxerxes, he was unexpectedly visited by one of his brothers and some other men who had just arrived from Judah.  Nehemiah was concerned about the well-being of the many Jews who had returned to Judah from captivity so he inquired about them.  His brother and the men informed him the people were in great trouble and disgrace for the wall of Jerusalem had been torn down and the gates had been destroyed by fire. (Nehemiah 1:1-3)   Upon hearing the news, Nehemiah sat down and wept and for days he fasted, mourned and prayed to God that King Artaxerxes would show him favor.  Great favor is exactly what Nehemiah experienced because the king granted his request to make the trip to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall and restore his home country where his ancestors had been buried.  King Artaxerxes also provided the letters Nehemiah would need to secure wood from the king’s forests.  Perhaps if Nehemiah had not positioned himself to seek God immediately for wisdom, guidance and favor – the king may not have quickly granted his request especially since the king did ask him how long he would be gone.  Instead the king granted all his requests.

Three days after Nehemiah’s arrival in Jerusalem, he intentionally decided to slip out during the night only taking a few others with him to inspect the damage to the wall of Jerusalem.  He had not told anyone about the plans God had put in his heart for Jerusalem until the time was right.  Instead he choose to plan, pray and assemble key prophets, builders, and people for the work ahead.  Do you know exactly 52 days after the work began the wall was completely rebuilt? (See Nehemiah 6:15-16)  Yes! this is exactly what happened and when the enemies and surrounding nations heard about the walls’ completion, they were terrified and humiliated as they realized the work of rebuilding the wall had been done with the help of God.  Nehemiah had been given grace for the unexpected task of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem which was pivotal because he still faced opposition during the process but he had learned to call upon a God who has a winning track record.  Many people panic when huge unexpected events take place and some even rush to call anyone who will answer the phone and listen.  Perhaps we should all take time to pause, reflect and pray.  I believe one of the real lessons in Nehemiah’s journey is for us to seek God for supernatural grace during those unexpected circumstances which can leave one speechless in the moment but we need to remember our Father in heaven has all the answers we need.  Nothing ever takes God by surprise.  Well before the circumstances arise, God is already fully aware they would occur.  It is in those unexpected moments of life that we can really build up our faith so we can be used for God’s glory here on earth. 

Perhaps you have found yourself in the midst of some unexpected moments of life or personally know someone who is currently in that season, I want to encourage you with some words written by King David in Psalm 23 and 24.  Remember to declare daily “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.  Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  The earth’s is the Lord’s and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.  For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.  Who is the King of glory?  The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle. (Psalm 23: 1,4; Psalm 24: 1-2,8 NLT)  While we may be living in different times, the same God who was with David was also with Moses and parted the Red Sea.  It is the same God who can part whatever Red Sea currently exists in your life.  Never ever stop seeking God for supernatural grace!  Unexpected moments are bound to occur in this journey called life here on earth.  God knows I have had my fair share of such moments but every single time – God has given me grace to carry my cross while encouraging others in the process!  I recall around Christmas last year when one of my daughters was seriously sick for about 9 days and the youngest also became sick too.  It is a bit easier to manage one child who is ill but both at the same time leaves even the strongest person asking for more strength.  I asked God for strength but I also asked him to protect my health as I cared for them.  Many people have asked me ‘How can you remain so positive in the middle of difficult trials?  My answer for the most part has remained the same: “God has given me amazing grace for the unexpected circumstances!” He has also never let me down as such I can trust in his promises for my life and those I am connected to.  My friends - you too can experience the same peace of mind as you choose to stay connected to God daily and use the blessings of the great times as the pillar of strength to focus in seeking God for grace in the unexpected moments of life.  Remember - you too are fearfully and wonderfully made for such a time as this! .