There’s a classic story in I Kings 20 about a king who set out to defeat Israel in battle. After losing decisively his army retreated. When they pondered what had gone wrong they got the following analysis from their generals: “The Israelite gods are gods of the hills; that is why they won. But we can beat them easily on the plains.” Verse 23 This advice led to a second skirmish in which the invading army lost 127,000 troops.
This sorry group could be the poster child for all who foolishly believe God has only one way of doing things … has only one voice through which He speaks … has only one direction from which He comes with deliverance.
God spoke powerfully to me as a teenager at our church in the Chicago suburbs. How absurd to believe that if I’m ever to hear from him again it will need to be in that same church (now torn down) at the same spot I knelt, wearing the same clothes and going home in the same car.
Jesus healed a blind man using mud (John 9:6) but we don’t read of any other healings that involved mud. He drove out money changers from the temple courts with a whip and anger (Matthew 21:12), yet we never read of him using a whip in any other circumstances.
When Jesus needed to reassure, offer hope, quiet fears he used a variety of ways of getting the job done. He woke in a storm to command it to stop. He walked across water to save his disciples from disaster. He stepped between the self-righteous accusers and the woman they wanted stoned to create a new life for the woman and send the finger pointers home in embarrassment.
The truth is, we’re never absolutely sure from which direction Jesus is coming. We can be sure He is coming whenever we call on him, but how he arrives will often mess with our preconceived ideas of how he works.
We don’t want to be waiting for our ship to come in when the answer we await is arriving at the airport!
I love it that God can’t be totally figured out. There will always be mystery in his actions. The Apostle Paul said it well, “God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” I Corinthians 12:6 New Living Translation
So this week, give it a break. Don’t stand gazing intently toward the north since that’s where He came from the last time. Give him credit for being amazingly able to do abundantly more than you could ever ask or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and then take great joy in how he does it!