When Life is Unexpected

unexpected snow storm
We encounter unexpected storms in life—like the disciples did when Jesus died. What can we learn from their responses to the resurrection that might help us as we navigate through our own unexpected griefs and God's faithfulness?

My wheels glided like a toddler learning how to ice skate. I pumped the brakes, hoping to catch traction in an unexpected snow storm. We just passed an abandoned car in someone’s yard; a moment later the flurry of white blinded me like midnight fog. All I wanted was to get my three kids home safely from school—but I couldn’t even be sure of what was right in front of me.

Have you ever felt like this? Unsure of what is right in front of you in an unexpected life storm?

Sometimes storms blow into our lives unexpected like a flash snow storm in Indiana and we feel totally unprepared, stuck out in the cold.

I think maybe this is kind of how the eleven disciples, the women, and other followers of Jesus felt right after Jesus died. They expected a king of majesty, not a suffering servant (Isaiah 53). I imagine they felt stuck without knowing what the road looked like right in front of them. And when they learned of the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, we see different responses.

How do we respond to God’s unexpected work in our lives?

Take a few moments and read the passages below. Which person do you most relate to? I would love you to email me your response.


Luke 24:1-12 (NIV) 

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

How did the women respond to the unexpected resurrection? How did the disciples respond? How did Peter respond?

John 20:19–20 (NIV)

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

John 20:24–29 (NIV)

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

How did Thomas respond to the news at first? What changed his mind?

Luke 24:36–49

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.44 

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”


  • Who do you most relate to in the story? The women? Peter? Thomas? The Eleven?
  • What might God be doing in your life that is unexpected?
  • God reminded the disciples about the message he preached to them and how it needed to be fulfilled. What might you need to pause and remember about God’s faithfulness in your life thus far?
  • Are you willing to trust God’s faithfulness even when you feel stuck out in an unexpected storm?

Meditate on these questions for a moment.


Pray about your reflections above or here is a prayer to guide you:

Father, Son, Holy Spirit, one and only true God, we worship you. Lord, sometimes I just can’t see the way forward right in front of me when life is unexpected. I can be like those fickle disciples—wanting you to prove your way before I believe and trust you. But you have already proven your faithfulness by dying on the cross and rising again to life so that I can have life in Jesus’ name. Please forgive me for my mistrust of you and please help me (ask him for how you need help). I praise you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

We Made It Home

“The snail is beating us home!,” my one son joked as I inched forward in the blinding snow, praying my wheels would keep moving on solid ground. We made it home, although the van wouldn’t make it up the driveway. As soon as I could tear off my canvas shoes, I ran to be bedroom, crawled under the covers, and took a deep breath. Sometimes unexpected storms leave us clenching our fists around life’s steering wheel, but if we keep on moving forward, ever so slowly, we make it home.

Keep moving toward God in faith, friend. He is faithful.

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unexpected snow storm

When Life is Unexpected

We encounter unexpected storms in life—like the disciples did when Jesus died. What can we learn from their responses to the resurrection that might help us as we navigate through our own unexpected griefs and God’s faithfulness?

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