Most folks I know like things to stay as they are. You've heard all the sayings that reveal our preference for the familiar: Leave well enough alone. I don't like surprises. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Stay with a sure thing.
We admire pioneers...so long as we can just read about them, not finance their journeys. We applaud explorers...but not if it means we have to load up and travel with them. Creative ideas are fine...but "don't get carried away," we warn. Plans that involve risks prompt worst-case scenarios from the lips of most who wait in the wings.
Don't misunderstand. Just because the plan is creative is no guarantee that stuff won't backfire. On the contrary, surprises and disappointments await anyone who ventures into the unknown.
But the fact is, the alternative is worse. Can anything be worse than boredom? Is there an existence less challenging and more draining than the predictable? I don't think so.
More importantly, God doesn't seem to think so either. As I read through the biblical accounts of His working in the lives of His people, the single thread that ties most of the stories together is the unexpected. Need some examples?
After aging Abraham finally got the son God had promised to him, after he cultivated a father-son bond closer than words could describe, after fixing his hopes on all that God had said He would do through that boy to whom Sarah gave birth, God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain.
Even though the prophet Hosea had lived righteously before his Lord and had been faithful to his wife, Gomer, she left their home and family and became a harlot in the streets of Israel. God's instructions? Go find her and remarry her.
When it came time for God to send His Son to earth, He did not send Him to the palace of some mighty king. He was conceived in the womb of an unwed mother—a virgin!—who lived in the lowly village of Nazareth.
In choosing those who would represent Christ and establish His church, God picked some of the most unusual individuals imaginable: unschooled fishermen, a tax collector(!), a mystic, a doubter, and a former Pharisee who had persecuted Christians. He continued to pick some very unusual persons down through the ages. In fact, He seems to delight in such surprising choices to this very day.
So, let God be God. Expect the unexpected.
God likes surprises. Breaking moulds is His specialty.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.