Do you like surprises? Some people don’t like unexpected opportunities and events because they feel out of control and insecure when receiving them. They want to be able to prepare, to have everything just as they like it, and to continue pursuing their goals without interruption. Unfortunately, that’s just not the way life is. A great deal happens daily that is simply beyond our control. Though this may make us feel anxious and vulnerable, we must realize that this is the manner by which God teaches us to rely upon Him.
A surprising encounter
Moses learned this firsthand. He had been on the west side of the desert in Midian for forty years, tending his father-in-law’s sheep and going about his daily life as a husband and father. Perhaps this is what he thought he would do for the rest of his life, having left Egypt far behind without any desire to return.
However, this changed once he saw something extraordinary blazing against the backdrop of the rugged, mountain landscape (Ex. 3). It was a burning bush that was not consumed. Even more astounding was that when he went to investigate the strange sight further, the Lord told him that he was standing on holy ground before the King of kings.
Can you imagine Moses’ amazement—his outright shock to be standing in the presence of Almighty God? He had never seen, heard, or experienced anything like this.
Yet this astonishing display was not without purpose. The Lord’s message to him was life changing, and He wanted this shepherd to take it seriously. God called Moses into ministry as the deliverer of the Hebrews, who were being held in bondage in Egypt. It was an assignment that would test everything within him. This is why this event was undeniably remarkable. It was an encounter Moses could never forget or question. It was 100 percent, cast-in-stone, indisputably real, and the knowledge of it would carry him back into the nation he least wanted to see again—Egypt.
A brilliant reminder
At times, the Lord will call you and I to some unexpected assignments. He doesn’t do it to destroy or consume us. Rather, He has certain goals and plans in mind for us, and He will sometimes make us aware of them in astounding ways so that they are undeniably affixed to our hearts.
God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. This became a visual reminder to the shepherd that by signs and wonders the Lord would deliver Israel from Egypt’s grasp. He said, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. . . The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst” (Ex. 7:3, 5). Moses understood that the task would not be simple or easy, but the burning bush was a brilliant reminder that God was able to accomplish all He had promised.
A wonderful opportunity
Likewise, the Lord has a good plan and purpose for everything He does in your life, and the surprising ways He speaks to you are meant to demonstrate what He will do through you. Like Moses, you cannot plan for or manipulate how the Father will speak or what He will communicate. All you can do is embrace what He says wholeheartedly.
Perhaps He is seeking to make you aware of His holiness, love, power, and wisdom. Or maybe He wants to demonstrate His great love for you by doing something very special in your life. Whatever the case, one thing is sure: The more dramatic the visitation, the more awesome the task He is calling you to. And like the burning bush, His call does not come to consume you, but to shine His glory through you in a wonderful way you never imagined possible.
Therefore, your challenge is to accept God’s surprise visits with obedience and faith. So today, pray that whenever the Lord calls you to an assignment (and He will!) you will respond in a manner that honors Him and brings Him great glory.
Adapted from the In Step With God workbook (2009).
Resources About Opportunities
Do you have a daily quiet time with God? Learn to make the most of it with the new Quiet Time Toolbox.
When Opportunities Appear
Do you sometimes feel bored by the Christian life? In this sermon, Dr. Stanley teaches us how our lives can be characterized by adventure and promise. (Watch When Opportunities Appear.)