God doesn’t always do things the way expect. I don’t know why that’s the case. Perhaps he wants to keep us on our toes, waiting, following, seeking. One time Jesus opens the eyes of a blind man by putting mud in his eye. That is unexpected. Another time, Jesus picks a paralyzed man out of the crowd and simply tells him to stand up and pick up his mat and walk. That is unique. Lazarus is called out of the grave to resurrected life. All unusual, unique, unexpected.
In his book, The Red Sea Rules, author, Robert J. Morgan writes in RED SEA RULE #8, “Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.” When the children of Israel were between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, things looked bad. They cried out for deliverance. But they would never have foreseen the Red Sea parting and they themselves walking in deliverance through dry ground. God’s deliverance is unique. His healing is unique. His ways are different than our ways.
The same is true for a baby born in a manger. It is unexpected. It is perhaps not the way a Savior should arrive. It is unique. In John 7:40-44, those who listened to Jesus speak argued among themselves as to whether He was the Messiah or not. He fed thousands. He preached words that even the temple guards were amazed at. (John 7:46) But they were expecting that the Messiah would just show up on the scene. Their expectations were that he would reveal himself from heaven as the son of David and then set up the Kingdom of God among them. But they knew where Jesus came from. They knew his family. (John 7:25-27; 31) The religious leaders even knew his sordid past that perhaps his mother had actually become pregnant through an illicit relationship. [See John 8:41] Some believed He was the Messiah. Some didn’t.
The most unexpected and unique deliverance of all comes in the most unlikely way. The cross. The most cruel punishment that could be delivered. The most humiliating. The most painful. The most God forsaken. (Psalm 22) It is a deliverance that came through death, then to life through the resurrection. God has his ways, and on this Christmas, the thoughts of my heart go to uniqueness. My mind wonders what is around the corner? What other unexpected deliverances does the God of heaven have in store for the future? Jesus coming as a baby in manger certainly was unexpected. Jesus’ teachings and healing unique. Perhaps that is our gift. God does not always do what we want, in the manner we desire, but does even more than what we expect, if we let him.
So, this Christmas, let God have his way in your life. There are those who storm heaven and demand that God do things their way. You know what happens? They get what they want much of the time. However, there are those who simply follow the Good Shepherd and they lack no good thing. They wait on God and He brings them to the green pastures and the still waters. They look to Him for their deliverance and stand and see it unfold as a treasure that is greater than anything that we can think or ask. They receive the very presence of God. Staying there, waiting for deliverance, looking for His answers and desiring His gifts the way He desires to give them. This reaps great rewards.
Brother Lawrence once said, ”
But when we are faithful to keep ourselves in His holy presence, and set Him always before us, this keeps us from offending Him and doing anything that may displease Him, at least willfully. It also produces in us a holy freedom and, if I may so speak, a familiarity with God that enables us to ask successfully for the graces we need.”
Ask what you need because you are walking in His presence, simply loving Him, wanting His will in your life and setting Him free to do what he pleases. That is walking by faith. That is simple Christianity. That is the story of Christmas. God doing the unexpected and unique, perhaps to keep us on our toes.
So, are you up for it? Jesus came. He died. He resurrected. All that He might bring us to His Father. The simple heart of the matter is that we are separated from God in our sin. Just think about it. We are far from righteous. Our Father is righteous. But He sent His Son to die on the cross for you and I because He loved us so much. He wants us in His presence. Enjoying that special gift. If you are willing to believe that what Jesus did for you on that cross can cleanse your sins, and are willing to expect the unexpected by following Him and the great things He has planned, then you will begin a journey that is greater than you could ever expect.
I pray you do that today, on this most special of unexpected days.