It is a remarkable education to study the work of God in history. His people experienced extraordinary ups and downs. Their story involved centuries of slavery, a miraculous deliverance and decades of wilderness wanderings. They watched incredible plagues leading up to their liberation and inexplicable provisions in the wilderness. Their path included stops and starts choreographed by fire and clouds. He is truly the Lord of the unpredictable.
He used wicked men to carry out His plans. Who could have anticipated that His means of providing eternal life would be through the death of His own Son at the hands of ungodly people (Acts 2:23)? We think in worldly terms, and He acts on heavenly ones. The only means that we have of understanding Him is His revelation. Even then, our preconceived ideas can distort our perceptions. The Lord explained to His people through Habakkuk that they couldn’t believe His actions even if someone explained it to them (1:5).
He set forth both expectations and the promise of blessings to Abram (Genesis 12:1-3). It called for a combination of sacrifice and faith. God’s clock doesn’t run like ours. In fact, He doesn’t seem to have a clock or calendar at all. At least, not synchronized to ours. He has His own unique timetable. Twenty-five years after the initial promise to make him a great nation, a single child was born, and that one after Abram had tried to rush the plan along. Centuries came and went before the ultimate promise was fulfilled. Time is definitely not of the essence when it comes to our Lord’s schedule. For Him one day is like…well, you know (2 Peter 3:8).
Jesus encountered a blind man, surely the consequences of sin, right (John 9)? Wrong. He would be a revelation of God’s handiwork, a physical demonstration of a much-needed spiritual reality. The power to open eyes is in the hands of the Son of God. And just how did He take care of this man’s need? He spit on the ground, made mud and plopped it in his eyes. Really? Still, he couldn’t see until he followed the instructions to go rinse it out in a specific pool. The cause of his problem was not what was expected and the cure was anything but what could have been anticipated. We cannot second-guess the Lord.
The Son of God came as a visible, human expression of His Father, and He surprised people His whole brief life. He broke down social barriers and extended love to the outcasts and rejects. He had compassion for the lost and forgotten. He extended grace to the rich and powerful as well as the poor and suffering. We should not be surprised, “For God so loved the world…” All of it. Every bit. God saw the mess that sin created and rather than condemn He sent His Son to save us. Who would have ever guessed?