God Doesn’t Fit in Our Box

The preacher said, “The difference between an idol and God is that an idol doesn’t surprise you.”

If you flip that idea over, that means that the loving God is full of surprises. He does things in ways that are unpredictable and unexpected. He moves through people I would not choose. His work is mysterious and surprising.

I know this to be true because I read my Bible. God uses a shepherd boy to defeat and warrior. He tells Gideon to reduce the size of his army to win. God chooses a murderer to be his special chosen messenger. He even uses a cross, a place of torture, to redeem the world. The scriptures are filled with stories where God does the unexpected.

I also know this to be true experientially. God has shown up in my life ways I never would have predicted. He provided finances at the last minute. He used my ministry to reach lost people when I was a mess, or the Church was less than perfect. He has led me on a winding path toward a greater commitment to him. I could spend hours telling stories of the times God has moved, and I was completely caught off guard.

The great confession of faith that Peter made in Matthew 16:16, and I have people repeat at their baptism states that Jesus is the son of the “living” God. God is working. His word is active. His Spirit is alive in me and the world. Because of those simple truths, God is unpredictable.

To me, this is what makes faith so exciting. You never know what God is going to do today. Sometimes it scares me because his way might lead me through the valley of the shadow of death. His movements can be through discipline and pain. Most days it invigorates me because I am never sure what exciting thing might happen. Today might be the day he brings a miracle to my life, blesses me in an unbelievable way, or simply allows me to see something inspiring.

Christians worship a God who still surprises us. This day might be the day he shows up in my life and yours and does something amazing. We are called to live in faith, knowing that he is at work and will do what is best for you and me. I can’t wait to see what that might mean. Go ahead and surprise us God.

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