Expecting the Unexpected

Life Bible Fellowship Church

by Pastor Marnie Grigsby

“Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 NLT

If God’s way of thinking is literally light years ahead of ours, we shouldn’t be so surprised when He interrupts our plans with the unexpected. These “God-surprises” will often happen at the most inconvenient times—and usually when we least expect it.

I had one recently. I was very excited about a new exercise strategy I had just figured out. In fact, I was calling it my “Plan D” for determined! (Plans A, B and C hadn’t worked out so well). I was sure this time my idea was going to succeed.

And for a while it was as I was swimming merrily along at my local YMCA…  and then it happened.

These unplanned moments—the ones that we can’t take any credit for—are often our greatest opportunities.

After swimming a few more laps I stopped to catch my breath, and as I did, the man in the next lane over started chatting. What’s important to understand here, in case you’re not a swimmer, is that swimmers don’t chat. We swim!

I found myself becoming more and more irritated with this stranger. The key to my plan D was exercising on my lunch break, so my time was very limited.  Minutes were ticking away. Finally, when he paused for a moment I turned to bolt, and as I did, he blurted out, “I’m an atheist!” 

This is where God does what I like to call the “Big Switcheroo”—where He replaces my human plans (which are temporary) with His (which are eternal).

Expect that God will put you in just-the-right-place at just-the-right-time in order to share your faith.

When God gives us these opportunities we have to make a choice. Do we surrender to God’s will?  Do we carry on with our own?  Do we lean in and embrace what God is doing, or do we turn away and miss out?

I struggled for a moment as my “precious” Plan D started swirling down… down… the drain, but eventually I did lean in—and as I did—God changed my heart: from disappointed and frustrated to more caring and concerned, from feeling inadequate to trusting God. As we say, “yes” to God—He takes over.

In those unexpected God-moments, we must remember that He has placed us there. He planned it—so we can trust Him with it!

“When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.” 1 Corinthians. 2:13

Too often we turn away from these God-designed moments because we think we need to have all the answers. We don’t.

All God asks of us is that we trust Him to use who we are and what we know for His glory in a particular situation.

I didn’t try to debate with “John” (the chatty atheist). I felt God leading me in a very different direction. After listening to more of his complaints, I shared with him how much God loved him. I told him that I believed God set this whole thing up so I could tell him so. I reminded Him (knowing the nature and character of God) that God had been there for him throughout his life: reaching out to him, protecting and providing for him, and most of all, I told him that God had created him for a personal relationship that was motivated by His love.

Though earlier he had bombarded me with a barrage of “whys?” and a long list of complaints—now John was completely silent. Speechless.

People need to hear about the love of God more than anything else. It’s the missing piece in the lives of too many people.

“For God SO LOVED THE WORLD that He gave…” John 3:16

Since God’s thoughts are so much higher than ours, and because He sees and loves and longs to help all the people in the world who are lost, lonely, and confused—people who are all around us, we shouldn’t be too surprised when He unexpectedly interrupts our plans and replaces them with His. No, I think it should be quite the opposite—we should be living lives of faith that are counting on it!

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