God, You, And The Unexpected

by John Paul Jackson

We cannot read far into the Bible without coming across this intriguing concept called the Unexpected. It isn't comfortable. It isn't normal. It isn't . . . well, anything you would expect, and God likes to employ it all the time.

Have you ever noticed that before? Pick your favorite Bible story. Gideon. Daniel and the lion's den. Jonah. David and Goliath. Jesus and Lazarus. It doesn't matter which story you choose. In every one, you will be able to see God coming through for His people — at the very last second. And sometimes even after the fact, as in Lazarus' case.

As it was in Isaiah 36–37 when Sennacherib came against the Israelites, the situation will be horrendous. God's chosen people will be on the brink of absolute slaughter. They're about to be killed, eaten by lions, starved in a drought — it doesn't really matter, because it's about to happen.

And God being the ultimate storyteller, He will do what ultimate storytellers do. He'll wait until the very last second, when the people who are going to lose hope have lost it and the people who haven't are holding on with their last strength, and then, in completely amazing ways, He will step in and save the day, and the climax will be perfect. Afterward, the people are left with nothing but head-over-heels, exuberant, radical love and praise for Him, as well as a small, subtle thought in the back of their minds: Why didn't I trust Him more?

He always had a plan.

As long as you kept your eyes on Him, it was going to work out.

Why were you so concerned?

God is mysterious in all His ways. To say the least. And just when we think we're finally catching on, something will happen, and all at once we'll realize — again — that what we know about God and what there is to be known about God are two very, very different viewpoints. The created cannot put the Uncreated in a box. It just won't work, which is why the Bible is filled with stories of men and women and some very odd, very nerve-wracking, very God-orchestrated rescues and blessings and miracles.

This naturally brings us to an important question: Why does He choose to do it like that?

If you have been keeping up with my blog (blog.streamsministries.com), then you know I have written a lot about what to do and what it means when your plans blow up. Call it whatever you would like: transition. Dark night of the soul. A crisis. A perfection. A good thing. A bad thing. Whatever you want. But here's what all of us need to remember in this Christmas season.

If you're in the middle of something that you didn't expect, if you need to be rescued, there is a reason. To borrow an overused cliché, there is a reason for this season. God is calling you to a deeper level of intimacy with Him. He's removing those things in you that keep you from Him. Like fear. Like doubt. That is why difficult times such as transitions and dark nights of the soul exist. The plot of your entire life always has been about your heart and His heart and the proximity between the two. If we can remember this, the low places in our lives won't be so low, and most importantly, we will come into greater and greater relationship with who He really is.