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Summary: As a nation we are being blindsided by things that destroy us. Yet if we were to look more carefully and see Jesus at work in all things, we would learn to be wholistic, we would identify with the needy, and we would deal with both the physical and the s

Have you ever been blindsided? Something happened, but

you never even saw it coming?

The snow, for instance. After several mild winters, did you

think we would be hit by repeated snowstorms? Did you see

that coming? I didn’t. I laid out seven super Sundays of

sermons on the churches of Revelation. But you only got

six! I didn’t see coming a snowstorm that would force us to

cancel worship.

Has something ever happened, and you never saw it

coming? Sometimes, it’s just a mild disruption. I went to the

dentist the other day, and was riding down the elevator

looking at the card they gave me about the next

appointment. I walked out of the elevator and right into

someone coming around the door. Just a mild bump and a

mumbled, “Excuse me”. But I never saw that coming.

Sometimes it’s more than a mild disruption. Sometimes it is

a catastrophe when you don’t see something coming.

Several of you have been in auto accidents lately. Nobody

badly hurt, but it is a financial catastrophe when your car is

damaged beyond driving. And just about every time you’ve

told me about these accidents, you’ve said, “This guy came

out of nowhere. The idiot, I never saw that coming!” (I will

not mention, of course, that the idiot has also told HIS pastor

about the moron that HE never saw coming!). Disaster

strikes; we never saw it coming.

But then there is something even deeper. When we don’t

see something coming, it can be more than a mild disruption,

and more than a catastrophe. It can be long, slow decline. It

can be deterioration and decay over weeks and months.

That may be the most dangerous thing not to see. A long,

slow deterioration. A few weeks ago I went into my study,

and noticed that part of the carpet was wet. I didn’t pay much

attention. I thought maybe I had spilled something. But I

went back to the same area the next day and found it even

more damp. I discovered that a valve had been leaking

behind the paneling and behind some bookshelves. As I

began to investigate, I found that I not only had damp carpet,

but also warped paneling, loose floor tiles, mildew on the

bookshelves, and, worst of all, some of my books were

soggy. Now you know me. Take my wallet if you wish.

Abduct one of my children if you must. But leave my books

alone! My precious books had been deteriorating from water

damage a long time, and I never even saw that coming!

But I could have! Had I looked more carefully, I could have

seen that coming. If we had read the Farmer’s Almanac,

which correctly predicted the snowstorm, we could have

seen that coming. If I had put the dental appointment card in

my pocket, I would have seen that lady approaching the

elevator door. If you who have had accidents had been

focused on your driving and not your cell phones or your CD

players, you might have seen the accident coming. And if I

had done some housekeeping, I would have seen the water

damage before it ruined my books. We could have seen

things coming, had we really been attentive. I never saw that

coming – but I could have.

I

America is being blindsided. As a nation, things are

happening that we never saw coming. But we could have.

A

We never saw 9/11 coming, but we could have. Certain

voices were warning us about the growing tide of terrorism.

It should have been no real surprise.

We never saw the stock market’s steep decline coming,

probably because we didn’t want to. We wanted to ride that

bubble as high as it would fly. I used to go to the Baptist

Annuity Board website and let it calculate how much my

retirement pay would be. I fantasized about how good it

would be to retire and get more money than what I get for

working! Well, that was then; this is now. I didn’t see the

stock market fall coming, but I could have. Lots of people

predicted the bubble could not last.

B

America is being blindsided. As a nation, things are

happening to us that we never saw coming. But we could

have.

1

We never saw massive illiteracy coming. We are astonished

that huge numbers of our children cannot read or write. We

never saw that coming, but we could have. We didn’t turn

off the TV and offer them books to read. We didn’t make

sure that they heard correct English. We didn’t sit insist that

they write something as simple as a thank-you note.

Massive illiteracy – where did that come from? We never

saw it coming. But we could have.

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