Expecting the unexpected describes how we feel when we ask God for things. We are never quite sure how He will respond.
When God does not do things the way we expect, it is natural for us to ask why. If we are silent, He still reads our thoughts, and He always responds. In this post we will discuss the following:
- Not expecting Jesus to do the unexpected
- Expecting The Familiar in Dreams
- Rain, An Unexpected Weapon
- When Spiritual Warfare Brings Unexpected Weather
- Prophetic Dream: A Battle in the Heavens
- Expecting the Unexpected in Deborah’s Prophetic Word
- Expecting Prophets to Mean What they Say
- Expecting the Unexpected Pleases God
- Why God Speaks in Parables
Expecting Jesus to do the unexpected
In Matthew chapter 9, the learned leaders confronted Jesus because He did things differently from what they expected. First, the scribes accused Jesus of blasphemy. Then, the Pharisees became quite offended because Jesus ate with “sinners”, a practice that their customs did not allow.
“Why is your Master eating with publicans and sinners?” they asked Jesus’ Disciples. Jesus responded to all their questions even though they were at odds with Him.
However, next, the followers of John (the Baptist) came to interrogate Jesus. They noticed Jesus was not following the expected rules.
This was quite an unusual answer to a straightforward question. After all, a bridegroom, sewing, and wine skins seem unrelated to fasting. But, parabolic language is not meant to be easily understood. I sense Jesus was saying:
“Wherever I am at work, I do all things new! Expect the unexpected and celebrate Me. Soon I (the bridegroom) will depart. Don’t be surprised if these who follow me now decide to return to their old way of thinking.
Trying to fit my Ways into your designs works no better than sewing a patch of new fabric to mend an old garment. What initially looks constructive, soon unravels.
My anointing (New Wine), cannot fit in your traditions (old wine skins), or expectations. If you do this, you will waste my anointing (New Wine spilled). And, you will also create confusion or disappointment within yourselves (old wine skins ruined). To benefit from my anointing, leave behind your expectations and what makes sense. Fully embrace my Joy (put my New Wine into new wine skins).”
Expecting The Familiar in Dreams
Our human nature feels more comfortable with the familiar over anything new. The religious resume their pious acts, while the bored or disenchanted turn back to their previous activities. After the Resurrection, the Disciples knew that Jesus was alive. But since “the bridegroom was taken away from them” they decided to go back to fishing, their custom before they met Jesus (John 21:3).
Dreaming about an old love, (even if that relationship ended several years ago) is fairly common. It simply means you are desiring your past or an old habit that brought you comfort.
In the same way, dreaming of your old childhood home, may mean something from that time or place is unresolved. That “something” may be as insidious as an old way of thinking (harboring doubt or unbelief). Or, it may be an old habit, addiction, or behavior.
God shatters our mold of expectation every time He does the unexpected. Consider this example of the unusual way God answered Deborah’s prayers (Judges 4-5).
Rain, An Unexpected Weapon
On the one hand, Deborah the prophetess and mother of children, was accompanied by Barak, the reluctant leader of Israel’s foot soldiers. On the other, there was Sisera, the seasoned war general from Canaan. His mighty armored battalion seemed to hold the clear advantage to win the battle. At least, that’s what Sisera assumed.
God made it rain buckets. Why? Neither horse nor chariot wheel could run through the mud. The sharpshooters (the archers) missed their targets in the deluge as the torrent swept them away. An invincible enemy tamed, by rain! Then God did the unexpected again. He used another woman named Jael, from the family of Moses’ father-in-law, to execute an exhausted Sisera while he rested in her tent. She did not even have a sword, just a common household item – a tent peg.
God alone had the wisdom and foresight to know that a good gully washer of a rainstorm would balance out the scales and allow Israel’s swordsmen to defeat an armored battalion.
When Spiritual Warfare Brings Unexpected Weather
They fought from the heavens; The stars from their courses fought against Sisera, and the angel of the Lord was a part of the action (Judges 5:20-23). The Kingdom of Light fought against the darkness that had empowered Sisera to prevail against other nations in his previous battles.
Scriptures reveal that God responds in thunders and lightning against the enemy when His children cry out to Him for help. There are other links between spiritual warfare and bad weather. For example, Job experienced tragic weather as a direct result of Satan’s (angelic) interference (Job 1:12, 16, 18-19).
When Jesus said to his Disciples, “Let’s go to the other side of the lake” to the Gerasenes, a storm arose to try to stop them – most likely the principalities and powers that ruled over that region. Jesus was on His way to deliver a man (a future evangelist) from the legion of demons that kept him captive (Luke 8:23-29).
Later, the Apostle Paul, en route to Rome, a violent storm caused his ship to wreck. However, after several days, an angel appeared to him to assure him he would survive and stand before Caesar (Acts 27:14-24).
Prophetic Dream: A Battle in the Heavens
This dream, seen a few years ago, illustrates that there is often more going on than we can see.
I walked to my car at the end of the workday. On the way, I had an open vision. I saw a meteorologist forecasting a highly unusual weather pattern over the Southeastern US. The colorful weather map revealed a jet stream making a sharp V with the vertex (lowest point) over South Florida.
Just as suddenly, the vision ended, and the dream continued.
Now in my car, about to exit the parking lot, my eye caught a large dazzling white pinion (wing) lying on the grass at the side of the driveway. I stopped to look at it. It was radiant, and there was no blood—only a milky pulp at the attachment site. Instinctively, I “knew” it belonged to a warrior angel injured in a battle in the heavens above. A violent clash was taking place between the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness. For the rest of the dream (which I will not detail here), I either saw or spoke with people who varied in their readiness for the coming major weather event over South Florida. The forecast was for hurricane-gale force winds (End).
Dream Interpretation: The ripped-out wing was a clue that the angelic battle in progress was related to the forecast. I do not know much about meteorology, but a V-shaped jet stream so far south would cause really bad weather as cool air collides with warm tropical air. The dream conveyed an urgency to get ready spiritually and naturally for forecasted (prophesied) conflicts that are occurring and will occur between the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness.
Expecting the Unexpected in Deborah’s Prophetic Word
Take notice of what the prophetess Deborah said to Barak. She said that God would use a woman to defeat Sisera (Judges 4:9). Deborah did not explain how it would happen and God fulfilled His Word. It would have been easy to presume that the woman God meant was the only one who was going to the battle (Deborah), but God used a completely different woman who was nowhere near the battlefield. Furthermore, God fulfilled the Word after Sisera had left the battlefield, not during the battle as one would expect.
God’s timelines are often different from ours, because His Way of doing things are higher than the heavens are above the earth. And this is the answer to the next question.
Expecting Prophets to Mean What they Say
So, did all the prophets get it wrong?
No. The Prophet Habakkuk complained that God was not doing enough to curb the evil in the land, but wisely said (my own paraphrase)- I know I’ve said too much. I am going to hush now and let God respond. He is always right, and He will probably correct me again. Then, Habakkuk “saw” God’s response, His majesty and His despise of the wickedness. To say the least, the prophet was astonished. He trembled and prayed for mercy! (Chapters 1-3).
Prophets sometimes speak under the unction of Holy Spirit with little forethought as to what they will say from sentence to sentence and what they speak may be a parable. Seers receive revelation a little differently. They “see” (as John Paul Jackson used to describe) the co-existing spiritual realm (other dimensions) and the activities of angels and demons through dreams, visions and encounters. Many prophets are seers and vice versa. However, since there is no time in the spiritual realm, a revelation’s date of fulfillment usually remains a gray area.
Zebras, in parabolic language, are associated with discernment – black and white (not gray). We can receive a 100% accurate word from the Lord, but be wrong in interpreting God’s strategy and timing, in the same way we might easily have misinterpreted Deborah’s word. God intentionally makes it that way (like coloring the zebras) to keep us dependent on Him.
It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to seek a matter out. Meaning, it is “kingly” (a true honor) to seek God for answers (Proverbs 25:2).
Expecting the Unexpected Pleases God
Since there is glory in His Presence while seeking for a word from Him, let us not be too quick to stone His prophets as they did in ancient Israel. Many prophets truly wait to hear from God, though others may still be growing in their gifts. At the same time, let us not go back to doubt and unbelief by throwing away God’s awesome Promises simply because we are not sure how or when He will fulfill His Word. This is especially true for when the mouths of two or three witnesses confirm a Word!
Why God Speaks in Parables
God speaks in riddles and parables to hide revelation in plain sight. He does not divulge the future because He wants to protect us from our invisible enemies as well as from ourselves and our unbelieving hearts. Though Satan and his principalities have a long history of hindering the prayers of the saints to discredit God and to test our faith, God remains unmatched as a strategist (1 Thessalonians 2:18, Daniel 10:12-13).
Friends, let us be encouraged to know that God keeps His Word and responds in unexpected ways. Since our prayers directly influence what goes on in the heavens, and what manifests on earth, we should never quit praying nor return to old ways. Doing that displeases God. Let’s continue leaning in, trusting and believing God above our limited understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) and do so with expectancy; especially when things do not go as anticipated. He is righteous, just, and always fulfills His Word. Amen!
*Images courtesy of depositphotos.com
2 thoughts on “Expecting the Unexpected”
I think these are really wise words. I love the example from Deborah and Sisera. I have been feeling the same thing lately about events in the news. I also love the thought that sometimes it might be best not to know exactly how things will be fulfilled – because of the battle going on.
I had a friend who was a student leader in a bible school at our church. God said to her ‘come out from under your leaders’. She took it to mean it was time to leave and move on to something else. Then later – when someone pointed out it could mean something else – she realised it was a call to step up and lead the school herself! Which she did!
I will share your example with my friends to encourage them.
Thanks Jenny for your feedback and the story about your friend. That’s a great example. We are truly dependent on the Holy Spirit to interpret prophecy and dreams. Blessings to you!