I think God jumps out of the bushes that line the path we’re on startling us with His presence/words or with an invitation into something deeper. It could be a deeper repentance, or intimacy… another healing touch… it may be an invitation to laughter or joy… perhaps volitional strength… the point is He surprises us at times!
I chuckle as I think of Him lurking about in the most common affairs of my day… at times He even seems playful as He leaps out of a passage of Scripture I’ve read a gazillion times before giving me some new never-seen insight into my life or His person/work. Last evening I’m in a conversation with Sam about his upcoming week one moment and in the next it’s no longer Sam talking about something he’s doing on Saturday, it’s the ever-present Ventriloquist speaking to me about something I’m doing in five months and how He (God) wants to bring more healing/closure to a deep wound of mine through that event (Sam no doubt wondering why I was weeping). Sometimes He hops out of a movie I’m watching or from the music I’m listening to in ways the lyricist never ever intended. He’s with us in the moment between the market and home. He’s speaking through the plumber’s story, the sunset, the smiling child, the homeless guy on the corner, your friend’s kindness as well as those troubling souls within your life’s orbit. A couple of days ago I’m yapping with a buddy and his innocuous observation about another man sends me into an evening of confession, repentance, breaking of agreements and crying out to God for transformation. God is most certainly with us!
A quick story:
I was attending a conference session wherein the President of the organization, a true and good man, formerly a seminary professor vulnerably shares that much of his Christian life has been lived from the perspective that He was to cram his head with as much knowledge and understanding as possible and through that God would sanctify/mature him. He reflected that it contributed little to his personal relationship with God. He continues telling the audience that he attended our Boot Camp and during one of our “Times of Silence with God” he, operating from a perspective of “Yes, God speaks… but not really… and certainly not to me”, finds a quiet place perched upon a rock to listen for anything God may have to say to him. He spent 10 minutes in token respectful silence and concludes… “I knew it!” God didn’t speak… no real surprise to him, He never has. So he, Clive, does what any good Hoosier would do… wanders down to the basketball court to shoot some hoops through the rest of the time with God.
He continues the story saying that he made 10 shots in a row – which is unusual enough that his sharp mind goes analytical over what it is that he’s doing that would explain his success. “Is it the angle of my elbow?” “The snap of my wrist or the squaring up of my shoulders?”…”Maybe it’s my follow through!”
Then he misses the next 10 shots as he’s dissecting his form. And … surprise… God shows up on the basketball court saying, “Clive, you’re trying so hard, you’re so analytical… I want your heart!” Stunned and still, God begins to speak deeply to the governing assumptions of his life inviting him into something very new… and wanted (Living from the heart intimately with God). Clive asks God, “Okay… do you want me to go back to my rock?” (To finish out the “Time Alone With God”) and God answers, “No, continue to shoot hoops – but from your heart!”
See it? Surprise! Oh how he longs for a personal conversational relationship with us! And so, He is ever-present and always lurking about jumping at any and every opportunity to invite us into “more”. I wonder when, where and how He will jump out and into our lives today? – Craig McConnell