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Hope in Our Unexpected God

Weekly Devotionals

Hope in Our Unexpected God

I used to have a Christian colleague who, when I would share some good happening in my life with her, would say, “you must be living right!” At the time intuitively it felt like something was wrong with that way of thinking, but I couldn’t put my finger on why.

Years later I realized that this is part of our very common misconception that blessings come when we earn them – when we’re “being good.” It’s the idea that we can do something to earn God’s favor toward us, and is a close relative to what’s often called “prosperity gospel,” the idea that if you’re in God’s will it will show by all the good things you’ll be receiving in your life. Bad things happening is thus a sign of His disfavor toward you. Yet to me this sounds so much like paganism, where gods needed to be appeased to bless the mortals under their control.

The reality is that God offers us something much greater than a star on a cosmic sticker chart, rewarding us with treats for our good deeds. Who is our God? God is so much more than that. He offers us grace. In Christ, He gave us all of Himself on the cross for our salvation, and His Spirit to guide us home to Him, so that we can spend eternity together with Him.

In fact, God’s ways are often so much different than what we would expect. “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.“ (I Corinthians 27-29 (NIV))

Our God demonstrates blessing through things that are unlikely by the standards of the world. He shows up for His people and delivers us through:

The strange land

The overlooked child

The inadequate weaponry

The middle step

The marginalized person

The insufficient supplies

The too-late timing

The impossible answer

So what are the things in your life you have decided are impossible? Are you expecting God to show up there? He did for Abraham and Sarah to have a child, for Noah and his family to survive the flood, to deliver Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea, for the Jews marching around Jericho, for David facing Goliath, for the outcast woman at the well and Zacchaeus the hated tax collector, for Mary and Martha after Lazarus was already gone, for the disciples on the third day, and many many other times in the Bible, in your life and my life, and in the times to come just as He’s promised.

When you are confronted with the disappointment of some impossibility about the hopes and dreams God has given you, stand fast instead, grounded in hope on who our God truly is. He is the Rock, the Almighty, the Deliverer, the Father who keeps His promises; all other ground we are tempted to trust in is merely shifting sand.

Don’t get dismayed when you don’t know what’s going on. God does. Don’t despair when the bright skies you’d counted on become obscured with clouds. Wait for our improbable, impossible, all-powerful God to show up in a new way. You will discover He has made for you a better way than you could have imagined. Put your hope in Him and His unexpected ways, because as Nahum 1:3 says, “His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.”