What brought this to mind was a report about unexpected events. I read a report about a US hotel in which patrons received severe burns from a ray of sunlight caused by the building's design.
The concave shape of the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas reflects sun off its all-glass front onto sections of the swimming pool area below. It resulted in some guests complaining of being burnt by the powerful rays.
The temperatures are so hot it has singed one man's hair and melted shopping bags and drink cups. Hotel employees aware of it refer to it as the 'death ray' as it gets 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter in those areas. .
Meanwhile, Gordon Absher, a spokesman for MGM Resorts International, which owns Vdara, says it is aware of the issue and that designers are already working on solutions. The issue was foreseen when the building was being designed, and was thought to have been resolved by installing a high-tech film on the southern-facing glass panes.
This, however, was not sufficient and now he is considering supplying guests with beach umbrellas.
The 'unexpected' is so named precisely because no-one expects it to happen.
No one expects to get into their motor vehicle and ten minutes down the road have a horrific crash that changes their entire future. As a Baptist minister I have visited many hospitals over my 33 years of ministry and prayed with patients whose experience was exactly this.
My experience as a pastor has made me so aware of this possibility, that every time I get into my car, my prayer, like so many others, is that my care will be such that I and others will get to our destination safely.
The television documentary series 'Air Crash Investigation' shows ordinary people going about their every day business and personal agendas, boarding an aircraft, and the final scenario turns out to be very different from what they expected.
Business ventures can follow the same pattern. No matter how well researched the 'business plan' that the partners may take to the bank, unexpected events can put the business awry somewhere down the track. Or the reverse may happen: a different type of unexpected event may prove providential and help the business to thrive!
I can think of other positive 'unexpected' occurrences, too. There are many romances, both real and fictional, that have happened because of a chance and unexpected meeting. I'm sure every reader can think of at least one instance that they know of.
Many times, this 'unexpected' romance has resulted in something very beautiful and wonderful followed by marriage, children, the celebrations of family life and then grandchildren. All because no-one expected the 'unexpected'.
I have been listening to US Presbyterian minister Steve Brown, an audio bible teacher, since 1982. He was then the guest bible teacher at the Hong Kong Sports-Mission Conference which initiated my sports ministry. I used to listen to cassettes of his teachings, then CDs and now he is online. On many occasions, I have heard him say that God often speaks to His people when they are going 'somewhere else'.
This is certainly true of Christian ministry. When I was trying to place Christian chaplains in professional sporting organisations, I would sometimes sense antagonism and leave a meeting feeling dejected. However, on many occasions I was surprised at an unexpected warm and welcoming response at a subsequent meeting.
This has also been the situation with the development of Press Service International (PSI), my Well-Being Australia 'press-writing' ministry. I received a call from Christian Today Australia's then editor Szelang Chan some years ago, to become a columnist.
This unexpected turn of events has turned into an ongoing relationship whereby PSI now provides Christian Today Australia (CTA) sports articles written by five young sports writers, one for each day of the week. Now PSI is providing CTA a growing band of 'young Christian Comment writers'.
Although by its very nature, the unexpected cannot be something you plan for, it is possible to take advantage of a surprising turn of events.
I urge the reader to be aware of changing circumstances or unusual opportunities, and put them to good use, whether you are at your normal business, on holiday, running a ministry or at a sports or social gathering.
Remember, God often speaks to His people when they are going somewhere else. Try to make sure you are listening. It may change your life forever.