A young man went to see a fortune-teller. She studied his hand and told him, You will be poor and completely miserable until you are 41 years old. The man said, Then what will happen? Will I become rich? No, said the fortune teller. You’ll always be poor, but you’ll become accustomed to it so that it no longer makes you miserable.
Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?—when people are not sure of what tomorrow brings, or they are not sure what to expect in life. What do you expect of life ? Has God got any part in your life? I want to say that God can and does do the unexpected.
When life fails to meet your expectations, you should expect God to do the unexpected. We become discouraged when life, people and God don’t meet our expectations. We believe that we live in a cause-and-effect world. We believe things are supposed to turn out a certain way—if we continue to do A, eventually it will result in B. But have you noticed life doesn’t work that way? It is in these times that we need to expect God to do the unexpected. We have nothing to lose. Our lives aren’t going anywhere without him anyway. But, remarkably, we may discover that the unexpected exceeds all our expectations.
The old wise man was talking with a young boy. The boy asked, What is the world’s greatest lie? The old man said, It is this. That at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us. And our lives become controlled by fate. That is the world’s greatest lie.
And I think he was spot on. What is controlling your life? The Christian faith says that a loving God is with us. God is huge—he is ever-present, the author and creator of all things. He is bigger than anything we can fathom, our hope and our best friend. It’s not about fate or luck, because he is the God of surprises. He can show up anywhere, especially when we least expect him to appear.
The Example of Moses
One of the great men of the Bible was Moses—you can read a lot about him. Most people have heard of Moses. In Exodus 7, God is about to do the unexpected for him. We find Moses alienated from the world. He has been to the Pharaoh seeking deliverance for the Hebrew slaves. The Pharaoh didn’t meet his expectations. Pharaoh only increased the burdens of the Hebrews and made life more difficult for them, and Moses finds himself alienated from his world. He is one lone person in a world of confusion. All his expectations had proved fruitless. Now God is asking Moses to expect the unexpected.
We read in Exodus 6:28-7:5 (NIV):
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Now when the LORD spoke to Moses in Egypt, he said to him, “I am the LORD. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you.”
But Moses said to the LORD, “Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”
Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”
This was a huge task, and poor Moses became discouraged. God tells him to expect the unexpected. Here we have Pharaoh who thinks he is god. But God will intervene with a few surprises of his own. But in the first instance Moses needed to confront his own fears and insecurities. He felt he had failed God’s mission and blamed himself—I can’t speak—he felt inadequate. Yet he was brave enough to confess them before God. He brought his problem to God, and that is the most helpful thing you can do anytime.
God Wants to Do His Work Through You
If life is difficult at present for you, speak to him about it. He understands and can help you—don’t try to sort it out yourself. It was Moses’ weakness that made God’s work possible. Moses’ weakness brought him to the realisation of his need of God. And God wants to do his work in spite of our weaknesses and inabilities. Who knows what God wants to do with your skills and abilities, even though you may have failed and stepped aside from him? God’s power would be perfected through Moses’ weaknesses.
Remember what the New Testament says: ”God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame” (1 Corinthians 1:27 – CEV). Only God could think of that. It’s the opposite to the way we think, that might must mean right. Not so with Almighty God. The moment Moses reached the end of his own resources, God says, Don’t worry, I have everything under control. I am going to let Aaron be your spokesman and when I get through, Pharaoh will think you are God. He is the God of surprises.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are; there is one lesson we all must learn in life. God can’t do the unexpected with our lives until we do what he says—even if doing what he says doesn’t make things work as we expect them to, or if doing what he says doesn’t seem to make sense. Moses was 80 and Aaron was 83 at this time. Old men? Yes, but that didn’t matter at all. We want God to show us the way. We want God to give us a roadmap that will direct us to our final destination. We want God to give us the direction to head. We want God to tell us where he wants us to be. The next thing we would do is to plot our own course to reach that destination. We would be thinking, Get out of my way and I will get there on my own. After all, I know where I am going. Moses had already spent 40 years herding sheep because he tried to plot his own course.
Too many of us are asking, What is God’s will for my life? We should be asking, What is God’s will? Once you know God’s will you can adjust your life to fit his purposes. When you know what he is doing, you will know what to do. God wants you to become involved in what he is doing. When you discover what he is doing, you will discover what God wants to accomplish through you. It can make life very satisfying and challenging. There never need be a dull moment.