November 29, 2013

No one knows the hour

By Abby Deaton, a junior communication major from Indianapolis, Ind.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 24:36-44 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

No one knows the day or the hour when it will strike. For me, it was September 28, 2013 around 2 p.m. No warning. No reason. But on that day, at that hour, I developed an illness, and it has been a battle. My semester at school has panned out very differently than I had planned. My illness radically changed every aspect of my life for the past two months. No warning. No reason.

There is this sense of injustice when negative events happen in our life without warning. We want reasons. We desperately seek explanations for those events because suffering without purpose seems cruel. This seems especially true during the Advent season, when we spend our time rejoicing, when we spend our time reflecting on the word of God. Tainting this traditionally blessed time just seems cruel.

Three weeks ago, my illness took a turn for the worse. Three weeks ago, I had all but lost hope in ever feeling normal again. We are told that we cannot know the hour or “on what day your Lord will come.” Two weeks ago, I began to recover.

Both my illness and my recovery came without warning, but I no longer believe it was without purpose. There are good friends who I would not have met. There were close friends that I would have never understood otherwise. There were changes in my friend’s life that may have never occurred. There were personal revelations I’m not sure I would have come to.

We are asked to prepare for the Lord, to “be ready” for the day the Lord comes. Faith is our best preparation. Faith that God will deliver us from evil. Faith that God is always near. Faith that God has a greater plan. We may not be given any warning, but we are given faith that there is a reason. We may not know the day or the hour, but we can have faith in the outcome.

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 24:36-44 (NRSV)
The Necessity for Watchfulness
But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

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Comments (10)

  1. Your experience speaks to me in a real way, because on 9-11-13 I also had an experience with my health and I resonate with everything you wrote.

    Clara L B November 29, 2013 |
  2. our experience is so real to me I had the same type of thing
    but God hung in there with me thank you Abby

    bob November 29, 2013 |
  3. Your post is an in-your-face reminder that not only must we keep watch for “THAT day and hour” but for also for THIS day and hour when Something breaks in and we must be awake enough to notice. Thank you so much for connecting this text with your own break-through of the unexpected.

    Joan November 29, 2013 |
  4. So True, my husband was very ill and we knew death was coming, but when he died in my arms, saying “No” because I told him I would have to get help, it was a shock to me, and probably to him. That was Valentine day.. We knew God would be calling, but definitely had no clue it was going to be then. Thanks for putting some of my thoughts into works, May God continue to Bless you with healing and understanding, hugs, Ann

    Ann November 29, 2013 |
  5. Abby none of us know the ‘when’ or the ‘hour’. Being prepared is the key. But are we ever ‘prepared’? Not really. Your illness ‘hit you’ and so did your recovery. Came out of no where. For no apparent reason. But there was, wasn’t there? New friends, understanding old ones and self revelation as well. Complete your recovery, and enjoy this Advent season of anticipation!

    Debbie Lackowitz November 29, 2013 |
  6. I was much in need of reading this today — you are wise beyond your years, Abby! We need not
    only to be prepared and mindful, but also willing to not have control (my biggest issue!) Thank you
    for sharing this very personal insight.

    Chris November 29, 2013 |
  7. So if we don’t know the hour, why worry about that but worry, if you have to worry, about being ready and that means “How you live your life!” He taught us how to live our lives and the success of the early Christian community that practiced that way of living is an example that we need to find again. Reformation? Yes, to turn our “Belief” System back into one where we live Christ’s teachings and not one where we are going to get some personal gain out of it.

    Dick

    Richard Humphries November 29, 2013 |
  8. Wonderfully written, Abby! How true it is that we feel we need to know all the reasons, the timeline, the details, even to the point of becoming demanding of God. I can relate to this as I am sure many others can as well. Thank you for a fresh perspective on what it means to be prepared because we don’t know – and that’s OK – we have hope because of God’s faithfulness.

    Leanna Teodosio November 29, 2013 |
  9. What a wonderful take on “No one knows the hour”! I would never have thought of it as applying to our lives here & now if I hadn’t read this.

    Mary-Alice Shemo November 30, 2013 |
  10. I can feel with you experiencing the ‘no one knows the hour’ experience. I experience that on Sept. 20, 2013 when I developed a severe case of shingles. For a week and a half I had severe back pain, plus internal pain in my intestines, ovaries, and my bladder before any spots of shingles appeared. In all my life I do not believe I had so much pain. I am still very touchy on the spots that were so full of shingles. Otherwise I am recovered completely. I praise the Lord for the whole experience, I have been a healthy person and know now what it feels like when someone is going through a lot of pain or something. God is good and He has a purpose for everything. We can feel his closeness when we are down.

    Liz Lehman December 8, 2013 |