Saturday, January 22, 2022

God of Surprise - Martin Wiles

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Isaiah 53:5 NLT

The news floored us—but it also pleased us.

My wife loves to “set up” couples—especially when they eventually date and even marry. And she had tried to do this with a young man we have known for several years. Each time, he declined her offer, telling her he wasn’t interested in finding anyone at the moment.

Occasionally, he came over to eat supper with us. He loved my wife’s cooking, even if it was nothing but hot dogs. As we sat to eat, my wife asked the normal question: “So, have you found anyone yet?” We both expected his normal answer: “No, and I’m not looking.”

But we didn’t get the traditional answer. “Well, kinda, sorta.”

My wife’s antennas went up, and the questions began. “Tell us about her. What’s her name?”

“I wish you wouldn’t have started with that question,” he said, and then began his story. His description of her interested us: pretty, churchgoer, smart, good job, single mom.

When he got to the single mom part, my wife and I got a puzzled look on my face. I doubted he could be talking about our daughter since my wife had tried to set them up quite a few times to no avail. My wife had to ask, “You’re not talking about . . .?”

He was. As our young friend burst out with laughter—and our daughter sat at the other end of the table with a sly grin on her face—my wife burst into tears, and I sat in shock. A pleasing shock. But then, our daughter is always full of surprises.

God surprised His first-century people as our daughter and friend shocked us. They looked for a warrior Messiah who would ride in on a white horse and deliver them from their Roman oppressors. They didn’t expect Messiah to ride a donkey and allow Himself to be abused, ridiculed, and crucified.

Then again, God is in the surprise business. Just when we think we have Him figured out, He’ll act in a way we don’t expect. He never acts contrary to His holy nature, but there are many surprising ways He can maneuver within the confines of that nature. We think we have life figured out, and He changes something. We imagine we know His plan, and He changes it.

Being a God of surprises challenges our faith and causes it to grow. His ways are higher than ours, so we’ll never figure Him out completely. But we can enough to know what He wants of us and where He wants to take us. That allows for obedience—among the surprises—and that’s what He desires.

Don’t let God’s surprises cause you to doubt His love for you or His guidance in your life.

Prayer: Father, when You surprise us, give us the courage to keep trusting and moving forward in obedience.

Tweetable: What are some ways God has surprised you? 

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