The unusual and the unexpected startle us –like a pig in the living room window!
Life is filled with the unanticipated. And that is partly why God is so awesome. He is the Master Revealer who surprises us with every good thing! However, our responses to Him are a bit curious because of the restrictions we place on Him. In a society where our material needs are met, we lack a sense of dependence on anyone but ourselves until something happens that reminds us that we have little control over our lives–like a pandemic! And we also neatly quantify and package our knowledge in a scientific model. We like measurable facts, discount what we can’t prove with our senses, and trust our own logic and not the greater thoughts and ways of God. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah.” (Isaiah 55:8 (ASV)
God transcends our comprehension. So, why wouldn’t we be surprised by omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, by a pure integrity and character, by Sovereign authority and an intellect and spiritual nature that surpasses any love or joy or patience or goodness or kindness that we experience as humans? Because we lack complete knowledge and therefore ability to understand, God’s plans and purposes and ways of accomplishing them puzzle us, and we may react with awe or confusion or disbelief.
When we experience or read about astonishing miracles of Biblical proportions , about a star that puzzled wise men, about angels singing “peace” songs that frightened shepherds, about divine love delivered unexpectedly as a baby born in a barn in a remote part of the world, about a young, itinerant Rabbi who walked on water but died a wrongful, agonizing death on a Roman cross, we may wonder how such highly dramatic ways are necessary or correct or purposeful ways to bring glory to God and restore glory to man. We doubt the reality, the necessity! Certainly, we could have devised a more majestic and humane plan!!? But in the Perfect Mind that was the only truly just and workable plan! God’s reasons restore our sinful natures, atone for our sins, and bring salvation to all men, to all nations, not just a select few.
We are surprised when God makes sense out of such cruelty and something good out of His and our suffering and adversity. But a pandemic can shake out our basic values, increase our gratefulness and appreciation for opportunities, for material things, for physical health, for those we love, and for an awareness of the Almighty. God not only changed a cruel crucifixion and miserable death into a surprise resurrection, He also promises to “restore our souls”- to bring rest out of weariness, to make sense out of trouble and despair, to give joy within sorrow and peace within turmoil, to produce wholeness where brokenness resides and to give hope when death comes knocking. He makes the crooked straight and removes mountains when we believe.
We are surprised by love! We are surprised by hope! We are surprised by restoration! We will always be surprised by God’s faithfulness! But should we be? God does not change, His promises are sure. His Word will not fail.
Meet Chris Mace
Christopher Mace graduated from Bowdoin College and Tufts University School of Medicine. Served as a Navy Doctor in Vietnam and has practiced medicine in Downeast Maine since 1970. He is now an Elder at United Baptist Church in Ellsworth Maine. Chris is the author of two books, Listening to God and Dancing with God. You can read more from Chris here: http://sweetwordsfrommaine.music.blog/. He is married and has four children and three grand children.