Unexpected Places

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”

Genesis 28:16

God has a tendency to show up when we least expect Him.

Many years ago, my youngest sister passed away. That phrase works pretty well, because she is a believer and I fully expect to see her again. It took a while before my family noticed it, but God was in the midst of everything. Little details, like my sister having spoken with our brother-in-law about how she wanted her body disposed of, slid quietly and efficiently into place and, one-by-one, the places where God showed Himself increased in number.

The following year, I called off a wedding. It was not an easy decision, nor was it painless, and more than one relationship was destroyed in the explosion from that decision. As the house of cards I had built came tumbling down, I found God standing there with His peace on offer. I accepted His peace, I would’ve been a fool not to, and some of what followed was more endurable. More importantly, God was there in the middle of the storm.

If we pay attention to the scriptures then we notice that self same pattern in the pages of God’s word. Abraham is trying to avoid working during the hot part of the day and God shows up on His way to nuke Sodom and Gomorrah. This visit is unexpected because God used to walk with Adam and Eve during the cool part of the day. Later, Moses will be out tending sheep when God shows up and commissions him. Moses doesn’t expect this visit, in part, because he (Moses) has been out of the courts of power and influence for forty years. A Samaritan woman goes down to the well to draw water when she’s reasonably certain no one else will be around and, lo and behold, God is sitting there waiting for her and asking for a drink. Over and over the pattern repeats that God feels free to drop in when no one expects Him.

What would it be like if I always expected God? I mean, if I lived my life with the constant awareness that I could round any old corner—metaphorically speaking—and bump into my God. How would my life be different if that was my outlook? How would I be different? Would the trials and difficulties in life phase me any more or would I be waiting to bump into God in the midst of them? See, The Bible also says that God sometimes shows up when we expect Him; that God often shows up when we need Him (sometimes He handles our needs indirectly); and that He always shows up when He promised to be present.

I need to be living with the constant awareness that my God could be visiting at any moment. And I need to not be surprised when God shows up in places I don’t expect.


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