The Unexpected Comes Only When Unexpected
With all the time, effort, and money spent on predicting future events by scientists, business leaders, economists, and sometimes even religious people, the most dramatic, history altering events have often happened quite unexpectedly.
Standing on the dock on a cool April morning, who would
you have expected that the sleek, state-of-the-art ocean liner sailing out of
In the spring of 1914, who would have expected that an
assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne,
Investors were in a spirit of elation in July of 1929, because few expected their stock certificates would be trampled into worthless paper by a raging bull market within three months. Lest we criticize their shortsighted investment strategies, where was your money invested during the fall of 1987, or the last four years?
Had you been standing on a beach at
If you had been standing on
Or if you had been sightseeing in an east coast city
during the fall of 2001, would you have expected that your plans to visit the
These are just a few of the unexpected events that have
changed history. Each one of them had a devastating impact upon our country.
They have left a permanent scar on our psyche even for those of us who did not
live through them. We learned about them in our history class. We have relived
the catastrophic events through the cinematic epics. After each tragedy, they
held hearings. They conducted investigations. They listened to testimonies and
they wrote pages and pages of reports to tell us what went wrong and what
should be done to prevent further catastrophes. Then they returned to the more
important tasks of raising campaign money and getting themselves reelected by
telling their constituents that they have made
A great deal of time has been spent studying the historical circumstances that preceded these unexpected events. Using the data, they attempt to predict the future. Their accuracy is usually very poor; a series of events develops that form an exception to the rule; something always seems to slip under the radar; something unusual, unforeseen, something totally unexpected always seems to happen. Jesus understood the unexpected ways of the Divine will and so cautioned his disciples about making predictions about the future.
Keeping The Future Unexpected
This morning’s Scripture passage is the conclusion to an
impromptu lecture that stemmed from a comment about the beauty of the
Even with a written testimony announcing the futility of
apocalyptic predictions, the Church has never suffered from a lack of creative
Bible teachers who believe that they have been given special revelation into
the future. The most spectacular occurred in the 1880s. After tending a farm in
Although he discovered this momentous revelation, Miller
remained silent for several years but in 1831 he began a speaking tour and in
1838 he published a book “Evi
The history books are filled with other accounts of people being misled by charismatic and convincing Biblical teachers. Even with two millennia’s of embarrassingly wrong interpretations and predictions, end times prophecy is still big business. Tim LaHaye’s series, Left Behind, was created to put into story what it might be like during those final days. LaHaye is cautious not to commit the same mistakes of past generations. Rather, than make predictions with dates and places he tells stories. Many have found them fascinating modern day renditions of the Bible. Some have even been inspired to renew their faith and commitment after reading one or more of the books. This is wonderful so long as people remember that the books are fiction. They are not real or predictive. They interpret images and allegorical stories from the Scripture according to the author’s theological bias and transpose the stories into present day situations. So long as we understand these stories as fictional accounts they remain harmless reading. However, the books can become quite dangerous if we assume that LaHaye’s stories have real possibilities for the future.
Jesus was very emphatic about avoiding specifics even while he talked about the general state of disasters and chaos that would signal the proximity of his return. I believe he avoided detailed clues because he understood the obsession of human curiosity. The temptation would be for us to become so absorbed in wanting to know the future that we ignore living in the present.
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Walled Lake MI 48390
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