The Surprising Ways of God

Have you ever prayed for something only to see God do something radically different and unexpected? It seems to be that God delights in being counter intuitive- that He delights in acting in surprising ways. This is seen throughout the Bible.

Consider Jonah. Nineveh was a wicked city, home to a cruel people. From Jonah’s vantage point- and most likely from ours as well if we had lived then- Nineveh deserved nothing but judgment. Yet God sends the most reluctant prophet to bring them news of God’s mercy. It takes three nights in the belly of a great fish to orient the prophet in the right direction. That’s an example of the surprising ways of God.

Consider Jesus. For centuries God’s people were anticipating the Messiah, greater son of David to come.   They expected- just as we would have had we live then- that He would come and rid the land of the oppressive Roman occupation. Yet God sends His Son- not to rout the Romans, but to die on a Roman cross. In this way our redemption is accomplished through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. That’s an example of the surprising ways of God.

Maybe like me you’ve been praying for a while for something and God hasn’t responded in the way you’ve asked Him to. Perhaps the surprising ways of God are at work. Pray during those hard and difficult times for God’s grace to wait on Him and to see His purposes.

William Cowper in his hymn, God Moves in a Mysterious Way put it this way:


Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.


His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flow’r.