Allowing God to take us by surprise
Being off work for a few weeks, lately I’ve had a LOT of time to think. It’s hard to go from working to not working, especially when I’m not feeling well. I rest. A lot. I spend time in my own head. It can easily feel like too much being in my own head. It’s not unusual for me to let some time drift by, simply allowing my thoughts to go where they go. Frequently, though, I spend many minutes simply talking to God and listening for his voice. Reminders of my illness are never far away, and various ailments intrude on the quietness. Naturally, my prayers frequently veer into requests for healing or getting through a day of treatment or other cancer-related concerns.
When we pray for healing or deliverance or help from God, it’s easy to imagine how it will come about – or how we think it should come about, anyway. I’ve done this over and over when it comes to cancer and how God might preserve my life – this treatment, that treatment, surgery, no surgery, miracles, standard medical practices, and so on.
We human beings are experts at asking God to do something and then specifying how he should do it. We are control addicts.
Interacting with God in this controlling way causes untold stress in us, our relationships with God, and our relationships with one another. We become fixated on our problems and on solutions and how to make them happen. Trusting God gives way to strategizing how to get our way.
This is why I have been so struck by a verse of Scripture one of my friends sent to me. This verse has helped me stop trying to control God and instead pay attention to what he is doing along the way.
Let me set the verse up. It’s the great Exodus of the people from Egypt. They had scarcely left town when they saw the Egyptian army bearing down on them. Like I would, they looked at the situation in terror.
God, however, planned to deliver them. Maybe they could imagine some sort of deliverance, but no one – I mean NO one – imagined God would part the Red Sea, his people would walk through the middle of it, and then it would close upon the Egyptians, thereby ending any future threat from them. This completely-out-of-left-field deliverance strategy took everyone by surprise – everyone except God, that is.
Here’s what Psalm 77:19 says: “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters – a pathway no one knew was there!”
In my copious times of quietness, I have been over and over this verse many times. It has helped me let go of all the scenarios I put together in how I might live in the next stretch of time and even how God might heal me. It keeps my eyes on God, the great architect of pathways no one knew were there.
What are you praying about deliverance or healing from? Transform your prayers from “God, please do this, and here’s how I can see it happening” to “God, please do this, and I will look to you for a pathway no one knew was there.” See what happens. I predict more peace, less stress, and more of your attention being focused on God rather than your circumstances.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with me. I believe I will live and not die. But beyond that, I want to look to God and let him do things that take us all by surprise.
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- Jennie ColeI'm going to hold on to this. I needed to hear it. God will make the path.. Thank you Pastor David...Continued prayers for healing and God's direction...🙏🙏🙏💞💞💞3/7/19
- Marijane JonesI love when a fellow traveler shares a. Portion of scripture that speaks to us directly, proving it is the Living Word of God! Thank you for sharing , it spoke to my heart!3/5/19
- Paul BartonDavid, every one of your posts deepens and strengthens my faith by illuminating wisdom from God. Thank you. You and your family continue in my prayers.3/4/19
- Mary KlugHi, David! I can related to this well (definitely a problem for me!) and recently had a time when God answered a prayer better than I could have imagined - He is amazing! I read these scriptures and thought of you: "He reached down from on high and took hold of me: he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." Psalm 18:16-19. And a follow up verse: "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17. Rest in His rescue and in his delight for you! Blessings, Mary3/3/19
- Mary HDave...that touched my heart to the core. You’ve been heavier on my heart lately and petitioning God more. Your message is oh so timely as it’s someth I needed to hear....aka a Godwink. Just know in your pain and suffering God’s still using you to lift up other Believers, like me. Big hugs to you, Susan and fam.3/3/19
- kristin nasmanThank you for this lesson. praying for your wellness and your journey teaches me too...3/3/19
- Patty WatkinsAmen and Amen Brother! For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Love, hugs and prayers to you and yours.3/2/19
- Justin ArnestNever noticed that before. Thank you.3/2/19
- Marcia HowardDavid … it is good to hear from you again! When the times we hear from you are slower in arriving, I realize I can conjure up a lot of things (of course on your behalf). So I tend work at wondering about outcomes (when of course I usually know exactly what I want the outcome to be) and waiting patiently. I know God has a plan for each of us. John and I continue praying for your healing and a return to your presence with us all. May God bless you in a special way this coming week. ---Marcia & John3/2/19
- Amber MennilloLove this and I love that you’re still teaching us! 🙏3/2/19
- Dan BradfordThank you again for allowing us to walk with you! The Bradfords are praying!3/2/19
- Larry EisslerIn the name of Jesus Christ, part that Red Sea for my friend, Dr. Beck. And remember, we have an agreement3/2/19
- Carrie KoperskiThank you! Praying Scripture really helps turn me to God instead of all the things I prefer Him to do!3/2/19