Our God is not only the God of miracles, but he is the God of the unexpected. The God of surprises. The God of unfolding goodness you could have never imagined on your own.
But, in order to experience this goodness, faith will be required. A strong stomach to handle the ups and downs that lead to the destination you do not know yet. God wants to take you on an adventure, but that adventure will include an element of uncertainty that will make you highly uncomfortable. Will you still show up for it? Or will you sit it out?
Sometimes God doesn’t reveal all the details to us because he knows we would dismiss ourselves from the opportunity if we knew. So, our loving and all-knowing, good, good father withholds some of the information so you will still show up. He doesn’t want you to miss what he has for you, so some things will just be kept secret until you step into them.
Kinda like my real life experiences last night. Y’all, I woke up with sore abs from laughing harder than I’ve ever laughed before. Let me tell you a little story …
I’m traveling to Norris Lake in Tennessee with 2 members of my leadership team. We’re on our way to host the next BIG Life Retreat on a houseboat. We thought that was adventure enough … but there was so much more waiting for us. We decided to forgo the boring interstate hotel on our travels and opted for the “unique stays” option on AirBnB. There I found GLAMPING. Glamping is camping, but glamorous … or well, it’s supposed to be.
It’s this fabulous large canvas tent with tall ceilings and hard wood floors, and real beds. Even rocking chairs on the front porch overlooking the most gorgeous mountain views. Glamping. I mean heck yeah … it’s been on my bucket list for 10 years!
I book it and tell the members of my team and we’re all excited. We come rolling up to the campsite about midnight and it is absolute perfection. The wild animals were making all kinds of wild noises and we were unpacking by lantern light. Then reality sets in … where’s the toilet in this joint? Instructions reveal we are given a potty bag for our stay. Yes, a potty bag. ONE. A medium size black trash bag which tells us we must take it with us when we leave. There are 3 of us, so we immediately start debating on who’s going first. I lost. “Leaders go last”, they reminded me.
What in the world had I gotten us into? How could I have mistakenly assumed there would be a restroom in this glamorous camping situation. I could have swore I remember seeing photos of a toilet in the listing and I specifically remember it stating hot shower. Oh, those things are available, it just requires a hike down the hill, holding onto a rope to the horse barn below.
It was one of the most memorable stays of my life. I will never forget this experience. I would have paid triple for the laughter and memories we created. But here’s the thing … if I would have known all the details in advance, I would have never booked it. I wouldn’t have willingly chosen a potty bag in the woods over a Holiday Inn on the interstate, and I certainly wouldn’t have drug my team into it. But think of all we would have forfeited if we would have known.
And I think this is exactly why God doesn’t give us all the details of our journey in advance. We wouldn’t show up if we knew the hardship. We wouldn’t go if we knew the struggle. And we would miss all he had for us along the way.
So, he tells us just enough to make us want to go.
Just like the host of this glamping experience. He told us about the hot outdoor shower, but failed to tell us about the rope path required to get there. He showed us photos of the indoor toilet, but didn’t disclose we would be using a potty bag at midnight. And I’m so grateful he left out those details. It’s almost God-like in this failure of disclosure.
Job 5:9 MSG “After all, he’s famous for great and unexpected acts; there’s no end to his surprises.”
If you’re going through a hard time right now, know this wasn’t a surprise to God, but maybe he didn’t disclose it to you in advance because he didn’t want you to miss the ultimate goodness that awaits you in this. Maybe this isn’t here to punish you, but bless you beyond your wildest imagination, it just won’t quite look the way you thought it would at first.
Don’t check out here. Don’t turn around. You are stronger than you know. You can do this. God brought you to it, now he will equip you to get through it. He knew it was coming and he has something bigger for you on the other side of it. Show up for it my sister.
Remember the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well? She lived a shameful life and she would have never gone to the well to draw water that day if she would have known the Messiah was there. That detail was intentionally left out. She would have dismissed herself from the opportunity because of her own shame and insecurities.
She didn’t know, so she showed up. Jesus met her that day and her whole world changed. Not only her whole world, but her whole family’s. She is the one Jesus would choose to first tell the world of his identity. She had no idea the impact of her trip to the well that day.
I wonder what God has waiting for you and you just don’t know it. He’s keeping it undisclosed because it’s so big it would scare you. It’s so extraordinary you would assume you’re never good enough for it. Or maybe the path there is so hard you would talk yourself out of ever taking the first step.
That’s why you don’t know what is unfolding here sister. Full disclosure would not benefit you, it would detour you. You would miss the greatest gifts your father has for you.
So just like our glamping experience was more camping than glam, but the greatest adventure we could have asked for … life is sometimes the same. It’s not what you expected. If you would have expected this, you wouldn’t have followed through with it. But, you were supposed to be here. God has something here for you.
It’s always up to you how you receive the unexpected. You have a choice on dwelling on the potty bag, or savoring the sunrise. What one person calls an adventure another may call a nightmare. You choose. How will you receive the unexpected surprises of life?
God is famous for great and unexpected acts. Now maybe it’s still just unexpected and you haven’t discovered the greatness in it yet … keep going. Please show up for your life today. Show up with your best attitude and expectant heart that the infamous God is unveiling greatness especially for you.
You never remember the uneventful hotel stays that went exactly as planned. But dang you remember the glamping experience that led to side-splitting, pee your pants laughter … if you choose it. That’s the important part … if you choose it.
I wonder how many people have rolled up to this experience, discovered the lack of disclosure on the less than favorable details, and turned around to leave? I wonder what magical stars, beautiful sunrises, outdoor showers, and memorable display of beauty they forfeited because it wasn’t what they expected?
I wonder where you have been turning around and leaving, ultimately forfeiting goodness because it wasn’t what you expected? You can’t expect what your unexpected God is doing. Stop trying to figure it all out and plan for it, and girl just show up for it.