God of the unexpected

God is constantly dropping something unexpected into my lap.

Sometimes it brings a smile to my face. Sometimes, I’m puzzled.

Like many people, I think in straight lines. If I do “A”, the result should be “B”. But God’s thinking – as the prophet Isaiah said – is way above mine.

More than 50 years ago, I became a follower of Jesus Christ. It was not part of my plans. I am eternally grateful that God moved in my life when I was at a low point. That was a joyful moment – a time of hope. In effect, God redirected my life.

I did not expect my wife to suffer a severe spinal injury in Milan, Italy at the start of a vacation this last November. God was not to blame for the accident – but he does allow bad things to happen.

Although my wife and I cannot yet see all the good that may flow from that accident, we were overwhelmed by the love we received at that time. We were flooded with good things – help from strangers, from family, from friends, from our church family.

Much depends on how we react to the unexpected things in our lives.

I think of Abraham who was told by God to “leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

That’s not your normal, everyday experience. But God promised to make Abram a great nation and to bless him and make him famous. Abram trusted God and obeyed even though he didn’t know where he was going.

The result was world-changing.

This week, I was reading the account in Luke 4 of Jesus visiting his home synagogue in Nazareth. The people of Nazareth are amazed at the gracious way Jesus speaks. They’re amazed because they can hardly believe that this is the same man that grew up as the carpenter’s son.

Then, Jesus does the unexpected. He says something that challenges them and their deepest beliefs. He sees what they are thinking and that they are demanding he perform miracles to prove himself.

He tells them that “no prophet is accepted in his own hometown”. He goes on to mention Elijah helping a non-Israelite widow – and not others in a major famine. And he notes that Elisha healed a non-Israelite leper Naaman.

The people of Nazareth were enraged. Jesus had effectively told them that he could work better with many non-Jews than with the skeptical Jewish people of Nazareth.

Jesus’ words were completely unexpected. But they were also a prophetic warning. Unless they were willing to put their faith in him, they were going to be part of a great tragedy – missing out on the saviour of all mankind.

The reaction of the people of Nazareth was to try to kill him.

Do we react to the unexpected like Abraham? Or, like the people of Nazareth?


1 comment so far

  1. Judith Starr on

    Another insightful and thought provoking blog, Bob.

    Thank you!


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