There is one thing that we have all learned from the last two years — nothing ever happens as expected.
COVID turned the world upside down, especially the church. For a time, no one knew if meetings would be allowed to occur on a regular basis or even at all. Pastors scrambled to learn new technology and buy masks while attempting to maintain ever-changing regulations. Lay people became divided as to where they stood on the ever-increasing severity of the health-related issues and how best to prevent getting sick themselves.
I even found myself in a whirlwind of uncertainty by moving to Carson City for ministry and quickly learning that the leadership would soon be taking positions elsewhere, thus causing much of the congregation and friends I had grown to know and love to leave and go elsewhere as well.
This past year has not been easy, and the uncertainty continues to grow with fires, upcoming elections, and an ever changing “new normal.” These things, however, should not surprise us, because God always uses the unexpected.
Nothing ever happens quite the way we imagine it in our minds. God reminds us of this fact in Isaiah 55:8-9 when he reminds us that, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.” (NIV)
Yet, we continue to stress and toil and wonder why life does not ever happen according to our plans. We strive to be the best, the most organized, the most well prepare. We spend countless hours in the word of God and neglect the priority of the people at hand. We turn ministry into our god and ask the Lord, “Why!?” when we do not see the fruit that we originally expected.
God has already given us answers to these questions. We just simply are too hard-hearted to recognize and realize that God will use everything, especially what the enemy meant for evil, for his good and glory (Genesis 50:20; ESV).
There is no better example of this in the Bible than the story of Rahab in Joshua 2. In learning about the walls of Jericho coming tumbling down for God’s glory and people, followers are rarely taught about the harlot who made it all possible. The word of God says it all. Here, God uses a prostitute to shame the proud and protect his people. God exalts a woman who, even today, would be cast aside and looked down upon.
Pastors today frequently judge people as being “worthy” or “unworthy” of the word or a helping hand, yet the Bible never sets limitations on who we are meant to serve as Christians. Christ loved all people, and so should we.
Upon saving the Israelite spies and subsequently her family, Rahab marries into the bloodline of Christ (Matthew 1:5; NIV). The story remains seldomly known among Christians today. The story of Rahab is a story of hope, redemption, and, even more so, a true example of how God can use the unexpected to shame the proud and overcome the wicked.
No matter where you are in life today, please know that God intends to use you in your fullness, in spite of your past, to bring into fruition events which you could not even fathom. Those events will most likely look completely different than you originally thought, but they will all serve a purpose and make you happier and more fulfilled than anything else you thought you ever wanted to do. Listen to the Lord, listen to the call, and do not be afraid. God uses the unexpected in life to bring about his expected will for the love of his people.