A thrill of hope: The unexpected

News | December 16, 2020

A while ago, a pastor friend of mine and I got into a discussion about the topic of expectations; how to respond to them when they are fulfilled and particularly when they are not. When you think about it, every aspect of life hinges on what we expect to happen in almost every given situation or moment. We find ourselves perseverating on the past and give equal time overthinking the future because after all, we need to know what to expect. However, as I have gotten older, I have discovered that my most joyous moments in life have happened when I least expected or prepared for them. And I must admit, they are thrilling!

Quite often, tremendously meaningful experiences happen when I find myself suddenly and unexpectedly immersed in a relationship with another in the throes of a crisis; moments where another is faced with the unexpected. This inevitably clashes with what was expected and is accompanied by the stark realization that what was supposed to be, may not happen. Yet, it is in these unexpected moments when Christ can be profoundly felt. These moments provide me the opportunity to bring Christ into a situation at a time when Christ is most needed. As a hospital chaplain, bringing hope is thrilling for me because amidst human suffering, fear and the unexpected, the one expectation we can count on and proclaim is that Christ is walking with us. Christ is always in the moment and that brings immeasurable hope.

As we journey through Advent 2020, we may sing the well-known Charles Wesley hymn “Come, thou long expected Jesus:”

Come thou long expected Jesus,

born to set thy people free;

from our fears and sins release us,

let us find our rest in thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,

hope of all the earth thou art;

dear desire of every nation,

joy of every longing heart.

May you find unexpected joy during this season of great expectation.

Ken Winter is a chaplain at Genesis Health System in Davenport. He and his wife, Allison, a public health dental hygienist, live in Davenport with their rescue Maltese dog, Louie. They love music, and spending time remodeling their home. They have four grown children and one granddaughter.


Leave a Comment