Living in Unexpectation: On the way God works

As I’ve added years to my young adult life and grown in my faith, you’d undoubtably think that I would understand more and more how God works. You’d think that my encounters at the feet of Jesus– whether they be moments of pure brokenness or of joy and praise– would allow me to be able to better predict God’s next move on the chess board that is my life. You’d think that coffee dates, church services, and prayer with other believers would help me to see where my life is headed, where God intends for me to walk with him.

You’d think.

I thought.

You see… My past 6 months have been rocky. I’ve felt both God and Satan throwing curve balls at me. And just when I get up and clean the dirt out of my wounds, another bully comes around the block to push me back to the floor. More recently, I’ve had a serious lull in my faith the past 3 weeks. After attending a funeral, enduring a stress-filled finals week, and feeling overwhelmed by the freedom of summer, I’ve lost my routine of devotion and have felt distant from Jesus. It’s been my fault though. I’m aware. I recognize that.

I’ve been expecting a wakeup call. My resentful, bitter, disobedient attitude gave me the idea that I would make some huge, sinful mistake and I’d be forced to hopelessly repent and ask Jesus to bring me back to Him. What that mistake would be… I guess I was willing to find out.

This is how I expected God to work in my life. He’d done it before. He’d used my sinful nature and absolute evil nature to bring me closer to Him in the past. Why wouldn’t he do it again?, I thought. I’m bound to mess up soon.

I woke up this morning feeling like today was the day of my utter failure. I felt it in my gut. But the day proved to be pretty ordinary: I went for a walk, got a haircut, met an old friend for lunch, met my dad for coffee…

And just as my dad took his final sip of his Aztec mocha, as I slung my Dooney strap over my shoulder, as we pushed in our metal, outdoor chairs, a man wandered by with a notebook and tablet in hand.

“Would you like our table? We’re leaving,” said Dad.

“Yes. Thank you!” the man smiled.

“I recognize you. Do I know you from Horizon?” (Horizon is the church I grew up in.)

“Yes, I did attend Horizon!”

And from there the conversation unravelled. Upon hearing where I attend college, this man immediately immersed my father and I in a joyful narrative of his recent week at a Christian camp just a few hours north of Davis. He described it as a “tunnel of God” and encouraged me to apply to work there next summer, as I appeared to him to be a “lover of Jesus.” I was more than flattered.

Most of what he said to us were mere details of the camp itself and how deeply he was affected by it… but there was something about it. About him. About the way he spoke, the way he beamed, the way he clearly loved Jesus so deeply… with all his heart and every ounce of his energy. With less than 10 minutes of conversation and an exchange of business cards, I felt oddly pushed towards Jesus by this stranger. As I slipped into my Nissan Murano and put the key in the ignition, I sighed, feeling as if I had just come face to face with my Savior Himself.

That was it. That was my wakeup call. 

And in that moment, I realized that I had very little clue as to how God works. Growing into my faith has given me very little insight into what God’s next move will be. While I approached my slump and its remedy with negatively, God’s plans were to work through one of his children with joy, peace, and encouragement. I had completely underestimated and belittled God. I has acted as if my God was not full of mercy, did not love me passionately, was not pursuing me kindly.

And so here I am. It’s strange, I’ll tell ya. Last night I felt completely lacking in my walk with Christ. Tonight is different. I feel inspired. I feel motivated. I feel lifted and encouraged and pushed in the right direction.

I am so very glad I do not understand the way God works and I hope I never will.


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