Then he chose David, his servant, handpicked him from his work in the sheep pens. One day he was caring for the ewes and their lambs, the next day God had him shepherding Jacob, his people Israel, his prize possession. His good heart made him a good shepherd; he guided the people wisely and well.
Psalm 78: 70-72 The Message
In this Psalm, we are reminded about the surprising ways of the Lord. The Psalmist is speaking about the leadership of the nation of Israel. No human being ever thought that David, the shepherd boy, would end up as King of Israel! It was a surprise to David, to his older brothers (certainly!), to his father Jesse, and even to the prophet Samuel who anointed him as King!
Here the Psalmist, perhaps David himself, captures things from David’s perspective: one day, I was out caring for the sheep. The next, BOOM! God made me King of all Israel!
The sudden, surprising ways of God do happen, and sometimes we don’t give credit or maybe even realize that God is already at work, even before we anticipate we need the help. Recently this was brought home to me, as I reflect upon a situation I have been working through. I serve on a board with a ministry that has been around for decades. Sadly, the person who was in charge of this ministry, was arrested on two different criminal charges. This person’s dream job was shattered, and we as a board have been picking up the pieces. But we have not been alone.
God was already watching over this ministry and is walking with the board as we sort through things and move forward. A blessing occurred when a former assistant shared his availability to help. We as the board hired him as the acting director. Just prior to that, our new acting director was working as a mason. He was working with stone and rock, and creating beautiful fireplaces, chimneys, and hearths. While he had hopes of pursuing God’s call into the pastoral ministry at a future date, two months ago he would not have foreseen God placing him in the role that he is now occupying.
Sometimes, we may lay out a plan and tell God, “This is what we are going to be doing.” Yet we need to always be ready to allow God to step in, redirecting us towards His will for our lives. I’m sure many of us can look back on moments when we could have taken a step one way or another. Perhaps we have felt God’s nudge in the direction we needed to go. Part of walking with God includes listening. When we forget to listen to the Lord, sometimes our walk with Him has had some hairpin curves in it.
The surprising ways of God reminds us that the Lord is in charge of all things. We can always rest in the sure knowledge that the God of the Universe, a God who loves us immensely, is watching over all things. Even when we are thrown by events we could never have imagined, God is not rattled, or shaken. He is Lord of all!
Thank you, dear Lord, that You are there with me, even when I don’t realize or even acknowledge Your presence. Help me to resist the desire to move in directions which are not part of Your plan for me. May I keep my eyes upon You, and not on myself, as I seek Your guidance. Guide me, O thou great Jehovah…. I pray this prayer in the name of our Your Son, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Amen