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Are God's Ways Strange?

“If God only used perfect people, nothing would ever get done.” -Rick Warren

History throws up many events where God’s ways seem strange. We find it difficult, with our finite intelligence, to comprehend the actions of Infinite wisdom. We are puzzled, but realize that the results of God’s actions are always better than expected. Let us sample a few of these events.

Moses was not articulate and lacked confidence; yet he was chosen to lead the Jews out of Egypt into the Promised Land. He found that the odds were stacked high against him, but persevered with God’s help. The tougher things got, the easier God made it for him. Moses accomplished his goal, not through his abilities, but obedience to God. By choosing Moses who was weak, God established His strong presence.

In Jonah, God chose to act through a reluctant prophet. He was ridden with fear and would not face the people of Nineveh to admonish them against their evil ways. So, he chose to run away from the mission God gave him. But God had different plans. He ordered a series of events that altered Jonah’s course. The ship Jonah was travelling in, was caught in a fierce storm. To save the ship, he was thrown aboard; to save him from the turbulent waters a fish swallowed him. After three days in the belly of the fish he was spat out on a beach. Now Jonah knew that he could not run away from God. He had to obey; which he did with amazing results. By picking Jonah for His mission, God showed that He could achieve His purpose even through a frightened and fleeing prophet.

Peter was headstrong, implusive and given to boastful expressions of loyalty. But when he faced the threat of torture and death, his bravado deserted him and he fled. The paradox in him stood exposed. Yet, God gave him the grace of repentance and ensured that his place as the first Apostle was unchanged. Why did God choose Peter, a man so full of contradictions, to lead the Church? The answer is the same – His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.

Saul was an enemy of Christ. He was bent on punishing any Christian he could find, until he was struck down on his way to Damascus. Through a strange transformation Saul becomes Paul the Defender of the church. Paul is one more testimony to God’s strange ways.

Perhaps the strangest of all is the way God chose to treat His only son, Jesus.  As an infant He was hurried off to Egypt, a long distance away, with Mary and Joseph, to flee the slaying soldiers of Herod. God did not choose to eliminate the evil Herod. Instead He sent His Infant Son in haste to Egypt to be out of Herod’s reach.

In our lives we are set on a course, which we think is right for us. Then things happen. Hurdles one after another threaten progress and we slow down. There is no rational explanation. The logic is that God is sending us a message that we have chosen wrong – we need to make a course-correction. We stubbornly refuse. God is Infinitely patient and He waits. More problems come our way until beaten, exhausted and drained of confidence we give up. When gold is melted and rid of impurities it is ready for the goldsmith. When our pride and self-will are drained, God steps in to shape our lives. 

To let God transform us is not easy. It calls for surrender. It calls for trust. We must let God take control. Rick Warren had the right words to describe the state: “Surrender is not for cowards or doormats. It does not mean giving up rational thinking. Surrender is not repressing your personality. Surrender is best demonstrated in obedience. Another aspect of a fully surrendered life is trust.”

God's time span is infinity. So, He is not in a hurry, but is always on time. He will let us exhaust our defiant ways. When we are empty, He acts strangely to fill us with His Mercy. He will not leave us friendless. He will come, hands filled with gifts, and raise us out of our misery. His ways are us, but His love is constant.

Ignatius Fernandez blogs at The Child Father Of The Man

photo credits: chasing after Jesus, keep calm  o matic

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