Do you like being surprised? Do you like it when your life situation changes quickly and unexpectedly and the plans you carefully made suddenly fall through?
I enjoy small surprises, but not big ones.
I like surprises that don’t really matter, don’t inconvenience me, and above all, don’t take away the control I want to have over my life.
I’m not fond of surprises that throw my life into turmoil and uncertainty. I prefer to know what’s coming.
You know that life is unpredictable because the world is not in your control. But did you also realize that life with God is just as unpredictable because He is not in your control either? Just ask the Israelites.
When God brought Israel out of Egypt, they didn’t know how He would save them from Pharaoh’s approaching army. With the Egyptians in hot pursuit, the Lord led Israel to the edge of the Red Sea and gave them an impossible command:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward” (Exodus 14:15, emphasis added).
I can imagine the Israelites protesting, "You want us to keep walking? Into the water???"
God gave the command but did not reveal His plan. He did not explain why they should go forward into the sea.
Instead of giving Israel a plan, God gave them Himself, and that was more than enough.
Then God said to Moses:
“As for you, lift up your staff and reach out with your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land” (Exodus 14:15-16).
You know the rest of the story.
Israel walked to the water in faith, without knowing what would happen next (I would have lingered at the back of the line!). The waters miraculously parted, and to everyone’s amazement, the nation crossed safely over dry land. But when Pharaoh's army chased after them, the sea roared back and drowned them all.
I imagine the Israelites were very surprised! (Not to mention the Egyptians!)
Can you think of a time in your life when things fell apart, your plans fell through, and your future became anxiously uncertain without any guarantees that life would turn out for the better?
Do you remember praying to the Lord and trusting Him to carry you through?
Do you remember how the Lord was faithful to you during that time, even though you didn’t know how He would bring you across your Red Sea moment, yet, He got you across?
That’s what life with God is like.
Jesus doesn’t always reveal His plans because He wants you to trust that He is the plan. That can be both comforting and concerning. It is comforting because you have Him. But it’s concerning because you’re called to go forward in faith, without knowing what’s coming. You’re called to follow Him one step at a time, even if where He leads is not where you expected to be or desired to go.
If you plan on following God, then plan on being surprised.