Unexpected Journeys

Jeff Olson —  June 16, 2011 — 2 Comments

Unexpected journeys. Little and big…life is full of them. A quick trip to the store turns into a car accident and a long night in the emergency room. The drive home from work turns into into break down on the highway and a long wait for tow truck. A call on the cell phone turns into the news that someone you loved has passed away.

We can negotiate the little journeys of life–mostly. The big journeys, however,  can turn our lives upside down.

I have a friend who just started down one of those big journeys this week. His cancer is back, and he is having a bone marrow transplant. This is an aggressive treatment that requires extensive chemotherapy,  a long stay in the hospital and  several months of isolation to complete. This is not at all how he and his wife expected to spend their summer and fall.

Unexpected journeys…the big ones can certainly rock our worlds. Some of us have a solid faith like my friend. As he enters this journey, I genuinely see in him what David wrote about in Psalm 23:4

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

Others of us have more of a struggle. We go through times like David wrote about in Psalm 22:1

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?”

God is gracious God who meets us where we are. During those unexpected journeys there are times for both Psalm 22 and Psalm 23.



Jeff Olson

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eff is a licensed professional counselor in the State of Michigan and has worked for Our Daily Bread Ministries as a counselor and a writer since 1992. He has authored a number of Discovery Series booklets (www.discoveryseries.org) on such topics as addictions, grief, depression and marital abuse. He also maintains a part-time private counseling practice in the West Michigan area. Jeff and his wife, Diane, have been married since 1986 and have raised two lovely daughters. He is an avid outdoors man who also enjoys sports, music, boardgames, books, and movies.

2 responses to Unexpected Journeys

  1. My nephew just admitted to us he is gay. It is hard to know how to handle this. We love him, but we can’t accept his lifestyle though his mom (my sister) wants us to be okay with it. We can’t. This all came after suddenly losing our father, my sister attemping suicide about a month later and her coming out and telling us secrets she held for years. Our first thanksgiving and Christmas without dad. In January my other sister announced she was divorcing and it was a mess of a situation! We have all struggled helping mom and with our financial hardships. Me and my husband lost our business due to the economy. All this in 3yrs. And my prior sister is now getting a divorce. There are so many other things to mention that are small bumps. I constantly pray. I feel like David in the 22nd Psalm, but I am hopeful! Please say a prayer for my family and I !!!! Thank you!

  2. Amy, You are so right! There are so many unexpected journeys like Jeff spoke of that catch us by surprise. My mother’s death just 3 weeks after a diagnosis of cancer was a shocker for me and my family. Some are the struggles of life, and some are because of the choices of others that have left a mark on us as well. This year of grief without your father will be challenging enough. The struggles of others whose relationships are failing or with your nephew’s struggles with his sexuality sure adds a lot of twists and turns in the road.

    Remember: you don’t walk this road alone. The Lord is with you and His Spirit abides within you to comfort and encourage you. The predicament is that Jesus calls you to still love your nephew, regardless of how disturbing his announcement was to you. But please understand that loving him doesn’t mean that you must endorse his lifestyle. Praying for him and opening up dialog with him (if he’s willing) are two tangible ways that you can demonstrate your love for him. Our prayers are with you and your family.

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