When God Does What You’d Never Expect

Imagine you’re a good Jewish girl, just going about your day.

It’s another hot one, the Palestinian sun searing through your roughly woven tunic and trickling sweat down your itching back.  Just another day, like any other in the 400 years of silence since YWH last spoke to His people.

It’s the silence that breeds doubts like bacteria, infecting every thought, every ritual, every waking moment.  If He is silent, then He must…surely…be angry.  And if you grow up under the spiked caliga of Roman oppression, surely, SURELY, God is not only angry…but disgusted.  Why wouldn’t He be?  You are the lowest of the low, the scorn of all the known world.  Even other Jews view you with a lip curled in disgust.

The water you haul from the communal well every day weighs your shoulders like the impossible burden of commands, rituals, and observances you follow because that’s what good Jewish people do.

You do what’s expected.  Period.

No, it’s never enough, but maybe…even though you live in a redneck town in the backwater of nowhere…maybe, you can keep YWH from consuming you.  Or hope that He really has forgotten you.

And then, in the suffocating heat, silence shatters with an angel’s voice, and everything you thought you knew about God shatters too.

He sees past the dirt and the flies, and the ignorance, all the way to your aching heart, and He knows.  He knows how you’ll never be enough, do enough, say it right.  How you’re just a filthy, despised, oppressed WOMAN who doesn’t count…and He sends an angel to say the last thing you’d expect:

“Greetings, highly favored one!  The Lord is with you!”

A sob catches in your throat as you look around the barren hut, rank with the smell of animals and sweat.  God, here?  Me, favored?  Because, you’re not Moses, or David, or even Queen Hadassah.  The weight of hell slips off your shoulders as heaven presses close, and for the first time in your backbreaking life, you don’t have to do it all, be it all, or get it all right.  Because God…comes to you.

He chooses…YOU.

Not the richest, or the prettiest, or the smartest.  Just an ordinary girl in a stinking mud hut in the middle of nowhere, forever caught up in the great story of redemption.

God does what you don’t expect.

He comes to our weakness, our vulnerability, and as we fracture into a million pieces, wracked by the million ways we don’t measure up, He says what we’d never once expect:

Blessed are you who mourn, for you will be comforted.  (Matthew 5:3)

It really never was about getting it right, doing it all, or saying it perfect.

It was coming to the bald truth that we can’t, and God loves us still.  He covers over our inadequacies, because that’s what love does.

Redemption, bold-faced grace…it’s here, and yes, YOU can be caught up in the redemption story…even (especially) if you’re just kind of ordinary.  Even if you’re the one who can’t get it right for the life of you.  Even if you’re disgusting and humiliated, even then…He sees with a jaw-dropping kind of tenderness.

Jesus, the Messiah, came not only to make a way for us to God…but to show us the face, the nature, the very heart of God.  He chooses ordinary ones, deeply cracked with flaws.

It’s our nature to exalt the pretty, the popular, the rich.  It’s His nature to lift the poor, the needy, the ugly and forgotten ones, and set them with kings.

We discount the quiet, the small, the mundane…and yet, that is the very DNA of the Kingdom of God.

God comes to mud huts and forgotten people.  He comes to hospital rooms and dark alleyways, cramped apartments in the ghetto, and desolate canyons in the middle of nowhere.  He comes on the sweaty days, the achingly cold ones, the dreary rain-soaked afternoons, and the sun-splashed mornings.  He comes when we’re on top of the world, and even more noticeably, when we’re anything but.

He comes how you’d never expect, saying what you’d never think He’d say.  He comes in an unexplained pregnancy, in the disorienting fog of sleep deprivation, in the pain of an illness or a searing loss.  He comes when you’re living under the soles of oppression, when you’re just trying to make it through another day full of ordinary chores.  He comes hushed when your soul’s so achingly crushed that you can’t even find the words.  And somehow, He gives the words, and He gives Himself, and you make it through because even when you’re not enough, He is.  (Psalm 94:17-19).

And yes, He comes in rainbows and smiles and flowers, but He can’t be limited to just the pretty and fun stuff, because that isn’t life.  He comes to our mundane, tangled up, ordinary lives, and He shows us that even in this, we’re the favored ones.  And yes, even in this, He is here.

It feels a bit like rejoicing, because the King…He chose YOU.  To live with you, to love you, to pick you.

And all that you thought you knew begins to shatter.

Grace, peace, and only-HE-is-enough,

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