Feb
04

The Unexpected by Randy Rowley 1/22/13 ©

By

On an overcast morning on the first Saturday in December, two friends and I went on an FCS duck hunt on Lake Granger in a small cove in the San Gabriel Wildlife Management Area.

Ducks started to fly almost precisely at legal shooting time – 30 minutes before sunrise.  A duck came in low over the dekes from right to left, and I nailed it with a load of Winchester Xpert 2 shot from my improved cylinder choked 12 gauge Browning Gold Hunter.  A flock of teal came in as I went to get my drake gadwall.  Tim Price and Ken Miller shot at them, which encouraged me to get back into my boat blind quickly.  A high flier flew by, and Tim nailed it.  It hit the water about 35 yards behind us in the flooded 20’ tall trees.  Tim eventually found it – a hen gadwall.

Then things slowed down.  There were still many ducks in the air, and several more flew near us, but they were very high and not interested in the decoys, which looked like statues due to the lack of wind.  Tim noticed that several ducks had flown down the tree line.  He decided to walk further down the cove to try to ambush any ducks that were bypassing the dekes.  I went further up the cove to try to ambush ducks heading out into the main lake.  Ken stayed in my boat.

It didn’t take long for Tim to start shooting.  I hadn’t pulled my trigger since I left my boat, so I decided to join Tim.  When I got within shouting distance, Tim announced that he had four ducks down that he was trying to find in the dense layer of trees and bushes.

As I closed on Tim, a solo teal flew in front of me, and I nailed it.  My teal wasn’t going anywhere, so I decided to help Tim look for his ducks.  Ken also joined us.

As we looked for Tim’s ducks, I marveled that we were at least 200 yards from my decoys, yet we were doing better than we had hunting over my 74 deke spread.  In fact, what we were doing was more similar to ambushing dove in mesquites and oaks than duck hunting.  Although I wouldn’t call what was happening supernatural, it was still amazing.

We ended the morning bagging nine ducks in the trees, killing more than four times what we bagged hunting over the decoys.  Tim shot a limit, including one mallard, one gadwall, and four green-winged teal, and I bagged five, including one gadwall and four green-winged teal (I shot three teal with two shots from a flock, although one escaped in the water among the trees and bushes).  The hunt confounded conventional duck hunting wisdom, which dictated to stay with the dekes.  To succeed as we did was completely unexpected.

Likewise, a major theme of the Bible is God loves the unexpected.  He delights in bending and breaking the rules of nature (he brings sight to the blind), relationships (he brings reconciliation to “irreconcilable” relationships), and much more.  He often comes through in the most unexpected ways.  God doing the unexpected occurs throughout the Bible.

Many of the unexpected events in the Bible defy logical explanation and fall into the realm of miracles.  For example, after healing a man who had been born blind, Jesus declared the miracle to be “work” to his disciples.  Jesus said in John 9:4, “‘As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.  Night is coming, when no one can work.’”  There are accounts of the blind regaining their sight in Jewish history, but there was no record of anyone born blind being healed.  This was a miracle of miracles, yet Jesus referred to it merely as work.  For God, it was business as usual.

Here are a few examples of unexpected/miraculous events in the Bible:

  • Sarah gave birth to Isaac, her first-born, at age 90.
  • Joseph was sold into slavery by his ten older brothers and then saved Egypt during a famine.
  • God chose Moses as Israel’s deliverer from Egyptian bondage – a man with a speech impediment, low confidence, and low self-esteem.
  • God led the Israelites to the banks of the Red Sea.  The Egyptian army arrived to take the Israelites back into bondage.  God then saved them by parting the sea, drying the land for them to walk on it safely, and then drowning the pursuing Egyptian army.
  • A shepherd boy named David kills a 9-foot tall giant warrior named Goliath with a sling and a stone.
  • Gideon raised an army of 30,000 men to fight the Philistines, but God whittled it down to 300.  They then defeated a Philistine army 100 times their size.
  • The Babylonians threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into a fiery furnace and later threw Daniel into a den of hungry lions.   None of these men were harmed.
  • Jonah was swallowed by a great fish and then vomited alive onto the shore three days later.
  • Elisabeth gave birth to John the Baptist in her old age.
  • Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus.
  • Following Jesus’s directions after being skunked during a night of fishing, Peter, Andrew, James, and John caught a boatload of fish.
  • Jesus fed a great multitude, using a boy’s lunch.
  • Jesus once instantly calmed a raging storm, and another time instantly transported a boat carrying the disciples to the shore.
  • Jesus walked on water during a raging storm.
  • When Jesus went to see his dead friend Lazarus’s body, Jesus raised him from the dead.
  • When Peter cut off Malchus’s ear during Jesus’s arrest, Jesus either reattached or regrew it.
  • When Jesus died, the veil of the temple was torn in two.
  • When Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was blinded and radically changed.

It doesn’t matter which of these events or many others like them that you examine.  In every one, God came through — often at the very last second.  And sometimes, such as in Lazarus’s case, even after his last second.

Sometimes God will wait until his people have lost hope or are holding onto hope by a thread, and then he’ll intercede in totally awesome ways and save the day.  Afterward, the person exuberantly praises God but at the same time asks himself, “Why didn’t I trust him more?”

Some people ask why God doesn’t do the unexpected more frequently.  Sometimes God doesn’t do the unexpected because we rely on ourselves and try to fix our problems with our strength and abilities.  We look to these abilities for the confidence we need to serve and live for the Lord.  Instead, God wants us to place our confidence in him.  God doesn’t tolerate playing second fiddle.  Exodus 20:5a says, “‘You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.’”  When we realize that God wants us to surrender completely to him and put our confidence in him, and then act on it, he will intervene – often in an unexpected way and at a time when all will know that the intervention could have come only from him.

Sometimes God doesn’t do the unexpected because of our doubts and fears.  Those doubts and fears keep us from completely trusting in him.  We must remove them.  James 1:5 says, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”  Only a faith-filled heart expects God to do the unexpected.  A problem for many Christians is we believe that miracles can happen to other believers, but not to us.

Sometimes God doesn’t do the unexpected because we are expecting him to intervene while we are sinning.  If we do not accompany our expectation of God to do the unexpected by a willingness to obey him, such “faith” is better termed “presumption.”  A man whose retirement plan is to win the lottery and believes that God will allow that to happen, or the drunkard who believes that God will protect him while driving intoxicated, or the woman who believes that God will protect her while having unprotected sex with multiple men do not display Biblical faith.  If the unexpected happens for such people, it is a mere coincidence and not God’s intervention.

Many of the miraculous events that I previously mentioned occurred because a man or woman believed and obeyed God and took action.  Their belief, obedience, and initiative allowed God to do the unexpected.  Would Moses have parted the Red Sea if he had not taken the Israelites to its banks?  Would David have killed Goliath if he had not picked up a stone?  Before he intervenes, God expects us to take the exam, finish the course, apply for the job, complete the report, make the presentation, apologize to the person we offended, share Christ with the lost, etc.

What kind of people would we be if we believe that God wants to and loves to do the unexpected?  And what would our lives be like if we lived in anticipation that God might awe us at any moment?

Tim and Randy
Categories : Devotionals

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Bible verse of the day

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/