I have decided that God is the Author of the unexpected. When God tells you how to do something, you might as well do it, even if you have no idea how it will work.
The Battle of Jericho
In Joshua 6 we can read of the battle of Jericho. The Israelites had been wandering through the wilderness for 40 years, and they were psyched to finally see some action. The first big city they came to was Jericho. So the warriors started polishing their shields and sharpening their swords.
And God said, “Hold on a minute. I’ve got an idea.”
“Cool,” the Israelites said. “You got some new moves we can try out.”
“Sure do,” said God. “For starters, you can get your swords and shields ready, but don’t worry about getting them messy because you’ll just be carrying them for decoration.”
“What? That’s insane! Are you just gonna zap them from the sky?”
“No, you are going to conquer the city. And this is how you’re gonna do it. For six days you are going to march around the city. Don’t say a word, just march. On the seventh day you are going to march seven times. Then you are going to yell really, really loud and the walls will fall down.”
“That’s not possible. And we will look silly just wearing all our armor and walking around the city every day.”
“Do you want to conquer this city or not?”
“Then do it the way I told you to. And after the walls finally fall down, you’ll get to use your swords to kill the people inside.”
So the Israelites did as God told them, and the city of Jericho was demolished. They may have felt a bit stupid all dressed up and doing nothing but marching around, but they got what they desired in the end.
The Blind Man
In John 9 we read another interesting story, this time about a man that had been blind from birth. Jesus was walking along the road with his disciples, who started talking about the poor man like he wasn’t even there.
“Hey, Jesus, who sinned, this man or his parents?” they asked. “Somebody had to have done something for him to be born blind.”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, sparing them the lecture on the impossibility of the man sinning before he was even born. “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
Jesus didn’t say anything else. Instead, he bent down and spit on the dust.
“What on earth are you doing?” asked the disciples.
“Hold on,” Jesus said. “I’ve got an idea.”
The blind man sat nearby and silently listened.
Jesus started stirring up the spit, and spitting some more, until he had a good bit of mud. Unexpectedly the blind man felt a warm wet ickyness spread across his eyelids. Inwardly cringing, the man lifted up the sleeve of his robe to wipe off his face. Just another joke at the expense of a blind man. He ought to be used to them by now, he’d been living with them all his life.
“Wait,” Jesus said, and there was such power in his voice that the blind man froze, his arm suspended in the air. “You need to go to the Pool of Siloam to wash that off.”
Maybe because of the tone of voice Jesus used, maybe because of the rumors he had heard about this man called Jesus, and maybe because he couldn’t wait to get away from the disciples which were now snickering in the background, the man turned and ran toward the pool. As he ran, avoiding obstacles along the way, he tried not to let himself hope. But at this point any chance was worth taking.
As he dipped his hand into the pool and wiped the mud away from his eyes, new sensations began to flood his body. How do you explain colors to someone who has lived their life in darkness? How do you explain the dimension of sight to someone who has used their fingertips for eyes? The blind man was flooded with light, and discovered that vision was way better than he had ever imagined.
It was well worth the humiliation of the spit, the snickering disciples, and the foolishness of the errand to wash at a certain pool.
Peter and the Fish
The last example I’m going to use is found in Matthew 17. There was a knock at the door. Peter went to answer it.
“Yes,” Peter said, surveying the well dressed men waiting outside.
“We are collecting the temple tax,” they informed him. “Doesn’t your Master pay it?”
“He sure does,” Peter said quickly, not wanting anything to tarnish Jesus’ reputation. “Be right back.”
Peter ran back into the house. “Hey, Jesus,” he called, “some men are here collecting the temple tax.You got it?”
“What do you think, Peter?” Jesus asked. “Do kings collect duty and taxes from their children or from others?”
“From others,” Peter replied, a bit confused at what this had to do with the men waiting outside.
“Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said. “But we don’t want to offend these tax collectors. I don’t have any money now, though. Judas has taken the bag and gone to the market for food.”
“What am I going to tell them, then?”
“Hold on, I’ve got an idea. Go get your fishing pole.”
“You expect me to catch enough fish to sell to pay that tax? I don’t have all day.”
“No, just run over to the lake and catch one fish. It will have a coin in its mouth, enough to pay both our taxes.”
“Alrighty then,” Peter replied, always ready to jump feet first into whatever Jesus suggested. “I’ll be right back.”
Peter had forgotten about the men waiting outside. As he ran by with his fishing pole slung over his shoulder, he called to them, “Oh, hold on, we’ve got an idea.”
The men looked at each other, sure that Peter had gone insane. But he caught just one fish, and that fish had the promised money right in its mouth.
You, Me, and the Guy Next Door
So what does this have to do with us? If you find yourself in a fix, or boxed in a corner with no more options, or simply looking for something better in life, you need to take it up with God.
You may very well hear Him say, “Hold on, I’ve got an idea.” It may make no sense, and you might not want to go along, but believe me, it will be the adventure of your life. And the results will be more than you could ever have imagined.