Have you ever had a time in your life when God did a work for you that came straight out of left field?
The blessing, provision or miracle he bestowed on you caught you off guard and astonished you. It was completely unexpected and surprising.
You never saw it coming.
God seems to like to work that way, doesn’t he?
Think of Moses in the Old Testament, when he was leading the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt.
They found themselves in a jam: cornered at the Red Sea with the Egyptian army snapping at their heels.
Moses had faith that God would save them, but I wonder if he was racking his brains trying to figure out just how it would happen.
Maybe God would send a flotilla of boats from the other side to rescue them, Dunkirk-style? But no one knew they were coming, and at any rate, the only people on the other side were either enemies or strangers.
Maybe God would send an affable and reasonable Egyptian captain to negotiate with Moses? Not likely, since all of Egypt’s firstborn had just been killed. The Egyptians were in no mood to parley with their escaped slaves.
No matter what Moses came up with as a potential solution, he never could have expected the curveball that God threw:
God miraculously parted the waters of the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites to cross over on dry ground, then closed up the waters to drown their enemies. Moses surely didn’t see that one coming!
And that’s not the only curveball that God threw…
Did you know that some birds and bees can see things that are completely invisible to us? They’re able to see in infrared, just beyond the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum that human eyes can detect.
What looks to us like a regular pink flower might resemble a helicopter landing pad to a bee. Where we see only the uniform expanse of one colour, the bee may see a target-shaped design involving different colours. The bee’s infrared vision allows it to home in on the most nectar-rich part of the flower.
The world looks completely different when you can see in infrared.
I sometimes think that God sees us in “infrared.” He can see things in us that are invisible to others, and even to ourselves.
Can you have too much of a good thing?
When it comes to chocolate, I would say an unequivocal no.
What about when it comes to having assistance in the kitchen? Surely you can’t go wrong having an abundance of help when you’re cooking?
You would think not, wouldn’t you?
But there’s a limit to how many “sous-chefs” you should have.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “too many cooks spoil the broth.” This idiom can be literally true. One person might decide the soup needs more salt, so liberally adds more. The next helper might think the soup is too salty, so dilutes it to compensate.
Some might figure the soup needs more onion; others think it’s too spicy. Each tries to correct the perceived mistakes of the others until you end up with an inedible mess.
Sometimes we need to be judicious about who we listen to.
There are some key examples in Scripture which teach us that too many “cooks” or advisors can confuse and divide us.
If you’ve ever invested in stocks or mutual funds, you’ll probably have come across a disclaimer like this:
“Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.”
This phrase is meant to warn us and give us pause before we press the “Buy” button. We shouldn’t assume that an investment will continue to succeed in the future just because it’s done so in the past.
But there’s a secondary meaning that can be read into that disclaimer, too.
We shouldn’t discount or overlook an investment opportunity simply because it has performed poorly recently. It could well turn around and gain ground.
It’s this last meaning of the disclaimer that we see exemplified in several characters in the Bible. It applies to our own lives as well:
Past failures in our lives don’t mean that God can’t still use us.
They’re not a reliable indicator of our future results or success.
Sometimes doing things ourselves isn’t always the best idea, is it?
My mechanic certainly seems to think so.
I saw a humorous sign at his shop a few months ago when I was getting the snow tires put on my car. It read:
Regular rate: $1 per hour
If you watch: $2 per hour
If you help: $10 per hour
If you tried to fix it yourself and couldn’t: $20 per hour.”
I guess sometimes it’s simply better to let an expert handle things!
It’s no different in our lives, is it?
Sometimes God wants us to hand Him the reins and trust that He’ll come through for us. If we try to do things our own way, it can end up being costly and taking more time.