“You never know what God’s going to do!” That’s something I hear a lot.
It’s crazy. People base it on the actions of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels without looking at the Nature of God revealed through the entire Bible.
Jesus restores one blind man with a touch (Matthew 9:29), another by spitting in his eyes (Mark 8:22-25), and another with just a word (Luke 18:39-44). Still another gets mud made from spit and told to wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:6-7).
He heals the sick with a word here, a touch there.
Look closely at Jesus’s actions. He meets people where they are. “According to your faith” is a phrase He uses several times. He does things that get people to act on their faith.
Consider the universe He created for a moment. Look at the stars above us. Here in the Southern Hemisphere I don’t see the stars I grew up with. I actually miss seeing Ursa Major in the sky, but I still get to see Orion looking down. God designed those constellations. The stars that form them are billions of miles apart, and the Big Dipper wouldn’t look like it does anywhere else but this small blue dot hanging in space.
NASA are planning to send men to Mars in the not too distant future. They already sent probes there. But they were able to do so because they could calculate exactly where Mars would be and the course the ship would need to take to get there at a certain time. We can tell exactly when Halley’s Comet will be back, and we can look back and see when it was here before.
There is perfect order in the universe God created. In 1999 I sat on a hill in Devon with my dad watching a total lunar eclipse. We knew to the minute what time it would start, when it would be at it’s total cover, and when it would be over. But astronomy isn’t the only thing that is so perfectly ordered.
The physical laws that govern this universe are constant. Gravity, thrust and lift, the speed of light and sound are universal constants that allow us to make aeroplanes, chairs, television, in fact everything we have physically in this world we have because God designed the laws of nature to allow us to have them.
Yet we find a way to describe God as unpredictable when it comes to our daily lives.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m as guilty of it as everyone else.
But I realised something.
God is not unpredictable. I am.
I was healed of gout 12 years ago (roughly – I lost count!). Before that I had a badly injured ankle healed when my vicar laid hands on me and prayed for it during a service, I’ve had other injuries healed, sicknesses healed, but I’m still diabetic.
Because I don’t let God heal that. It’s not conscious. I hate the condition. On the medication I take I can never learn to fly (which my wife is pleased about), which is something I’ve wanted to do since I was 3 years old and saw “Reach For The Sky” for the first time. 41 years later I still want to learn to fly. I’ve even picked out the plane I’d like to own, but I need to be healed first.
We limit what God can do in our lives. As a result, it seems as though God is unpredictable. Some people pray and get hundreds, thousands or even millions of dollars while others seem to be subsistence living. But God is no respecter of persons. All He takes into account is how we use the Faith He gives us.
It’s said that the man who expects nothing from God and the man who truly expects everything from Him will both get what they truly expect in their heart to receive.
Saying that does not go over well with most people.
But God set out the Law of Faith. He made things predictable, and set out details of how to receive from Him. We claim “you never know what God’s going to do” and “God’s sovereign Will” as reasons we don’t see answers to prayer.
But look closely at the Gospels for a moment.
Not once did Jesus refuse to heal someone. There were times when the healing was partial initially (the blind man who saw men walking as trees in Mark 8) and was unable to do much in His home town, because of their lack of faith.
And they took offense at Him [refusing to believe in Him]. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And He did not do many miracles there [in Nazareth] because of their unbelief.
Matthew 13:57-58 [AMP] (Emphasis added in italics)
And it’s not just here we find this problem.
Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel.
Psalm 78:41 [NKJV]
We see it in God’s people not trusting Him to provide for them even before Jesus:
“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings [you have withheld]. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this whole nation! Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it.
Malachi 3:8-10 [AMP]
So we don’t trust God to be true to His word, and we “tithe” generally less than the 10% put before Abraham. In my church where I grew up it was joked that the collection of the offering and “tithe” it contained showed that the average income of the parish was around £10 a week per household.
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2 Corinthians 9:6
God laid out before us a simple law. Seed-time and harvest. We reap a crop of what we sow. Literally, if a farmer wants to harvest corn, he doesn’t sow wheat. If he wants to sell beef at the market, he won’t raise sheep. This is obvious to us.
But we get very confused in more figurative things. What we speak are the seeds we sow. Negativity and anger will only reap sadness and pain. When we give our time to someone, we often miss that we suddenly may seem to have more free time for ourselves. The same goes for our finances. When we give freely to God’s work – really letting go of that money, not watching closely to see where it gets spent – we reap financially as well.
Some churches and ministries have begun to offer a 90 day money-back guarantee on tithing. I was shocked to hear about it, but the people who have taken them up on it have found an increase in their lives physically, emotionally and financially, with a low percentage coming and asking for their money back! (see Christianity Today 90 Day Tithe Challenge for an article about this movement).
Perhaps we need to take God at His Word. Predictability is actually one of His gifts to us. He is, after all, the same yesterday, today and for ever.
So how can we possibly think He will be unpredictable?