By Alex Anderson, Senior Associate Pastor at Bayside Community Church
God has an unusual little thing He does. The first time I realized what it was it caught me off guard a little. And as a matter of fact it really frustrated me because he expected me to participate in His little shenanigan. As hard as I tried I could not be a part of what He was up to, but with a little practice, over time, I got the hang of it. Once you learn how to do this, it becomes quite handy and very helpful.
Here’s what it is.
In the Old Testament somewhere around Genesis 15:5, God takes Abraham outside on a clear night and asks him to look at the stars and then to count them if he could. God’s reason behind this was to let Abraham know how massive the number his descendants were going to be in generations to come.
The problem with the promise God gave Abraham wasn’t the outrageous number of descendants, but another little tiny issue. You see Abraham and his wife Sarah were beyond childbearing years. I mean way beyond. Yet when Abraham was a hundred years old and Sarah was ninety they had a son. Isn’t that a little unusual to you? Why not show up when Abraham and Sarah were around twenty and just say something like, “I bless you now. Go have fun and make some babies.” But no…that’s not how the Lord decided to do it.
It used to baffle me why God was always asking mere humans to believe in almost superhuman things to happen, then it struck me…He likes to do amazing stuff with us. Now I use the phrase “with us” because it’s not all God doing it and it’s certainly not us doing it all by our little lonesome. God has the power and we have the faith.
So this unusual thing God seems to really enjoy doing is showing up a little too late and then doing a miracle. The Apostle Paul named this unusual behavior “Calling things that be not as though they were.” This phrase is actually found in Romans 4:17 when the Apostle is talking about Abraham and Sarah’s untimely delivery of their son Isaac.
There are many more Biblical examples of this peculiar behavior on God’s part. One is when Jesus took an extra few days to show up at the home of his friend, Lazarus, who was deathly sick. The Bible said that after the Lord heard the news, He actually stayed longer where He was and it seems He did it on purpose. So by the time He did get to Lazarus, his friend had been dead and buried a few days and was probably pretty stinky. Yet when the Lord arrives, he commands Lazarus to come forth from the grave pronto and Lazarus does just that.
The same happened to a ruler’s daughter, a widow’s son. And both the Old and New Testament stories just keep piling up one right after the other where God is always a few days late, but saves the day anyhow. Father God himself even took his sweet time resurrecting His own Son, Jesus. He waited a full three days. What He was doing, I have no idea but it just seems very peculiar indeed!
So, why all the drama and showing off?
Well I think God is trying to tell humans something that’s not only important, but also encouraging. I believe He is saying to us, if we will trust Him and have a little faith, maybe even the faith of a mustard seed (that’s about the size of a flake of black pepper from your table shaker) then He will show up and do amazing things for us.
You see it occurred to me that nothing ever occurs to God. He is never caught off guard or moved by any event no matter how bad or good it seems. What He is moved by and seems to even prize is our confidence and faith in His love for us and our trusting His willingness to help us, even in what looks like an impossible situation.
I’ve seen this peculiar behavior by God many times over the last 30 years or so. I’ve seen Him heal diseases that someone struggled with for many years, restore small fortunes that had been lost and couples get remarried even after a nasty divorce. Most amazing things I’ve ever seen! And God never seems to show up early or get tired of doing miracles when folks love and trust Him as their only real hope. He just shows off again and again.
So the next time you get in a tight situation and pray for God’s help there are two things you can be assured of: He’s not going to show up on your schedule, but if you really put your confidence in Him…He’s going to show up for sure!
To your spiritual health,
Alex E. Anderson
Author of the book, Dangerous Prayers