Not Expecting the Unexpected

Posted by on Mar 27, 2009 in Blog Posts | 1 comment

I enjoy watching HGTV from time to time. I think Candace Olsen is a great decorator and her ideas inspire me, usually to declutter rather then renovate these days. I used to watch Room by Room. One of their signature phrases was, “Expect the unexpected!” and it referenced some piece of decorating that would not normally be expected in the room where they were working. I never got much out of their know-how, but the guy and gal team on the show was a cute match and so I watched. I got to thinking about their catchphrase today, specifically that word, “unexpected.”

Since I like doing Bible study (I am a nerd for the Word), I “played” with my software this afternoon and did a word study query for “unexpected” just wondering what I would find about God’s take on that word. Mind you, I needed to do housework, but I felt this was a more worthy use of my time (sorry, Honey).

Regarding God ever being caught unawares or not expecting something, I was reminded as I found no reference to that, that God is not caught off guard. Ever. We cannot surprise Him.

In contrast to that, however, He has much to say about our not expecting things and some more than others. For example, we humans have a tendency to be caught off guard by God often. In Isaiah 6:3 you would find the recounting in a prayer the awesome and unexpected things God had done. The New Testament tells of the time to come when many will be caught off guard by Jesus’ return to earth in the last days. His coming again is unexpected to believers in the sense that we don’t know the exact date. But, we know to expect Him and His appearing again. We are expecting Him. Some people don’t believe this. They are not believers in Christ.

Yet, we still remain surprised by God and His sovereignty in our daily affairs, by His loving actions towards us, as well as His discipline.

There is no example in Scripture that shows that God is caught off guard where something happens He does not expect because He cannot not expect. If anything, the Bible points to the fact that nothing is hidden from Him and nothing can separate His beloved ones from Him and His love (Romans 8:35-39).

No, if anything, God communicates to His children through His Word that we should expect certain things. Among them are:

  • Jesus’ sure coming again
  • tribulation, testing, persecution (1 Peter 4:12)
  • being hated by the world (1 John 3:3)
  • the enemy’s servants being disguised as servants of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:15)! That one’s sobering.

Throughout the Old Testament you see the expectation of the Messiah to come. Yet, when He came, so many did not expect Jesus of Nazareth to be Messiah. They did not recognize His appearing and boy, how He was grieved over this! Jesus wants us to expect His return whether we know the exact when or not. Expect Him!

One final note, and this is about what NOT to expect. Look below at James 1:2-8:

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

Here we have a passage we know backwards and forwards and we use it often in matters concerning praying through trials. That Greek word for “expect” means, “to suppose or think.” Expecting (supposing) God’s answer or action is related to the degree of our faith. This kind of faith doesn’t doubt. Honestly, faith and doubt are opposites. If you have a faith that doubts God will come through, then honey, that’s pure doubt. No wonder you’re being tossed about. You’re between faith and doubt. They’re on the opposite ends of the faith spectrum.


Faith and belief have the same root word in the Greek. Faith is a noun. Belief is the verb. How does all this tie in to “expect”? The answer from God depends on assurance from God. Do you expect His assurance? Then wait for it. Do you not expect it? Then you may not recognize it and pass by it because you’re busy being tossed hither and yon. Furthermore, God may not act because of this double-mindedness (you’re expecting to receive from Him, but you doubt if you will). God does not see that as faithful expectation. According to this passage, we ask God what to do. When He shows or tells us, we hold back our obedience because we’re not sure we want to obey. We might as well not ask.

When God shows us His way, He expects us to take it. A double-minded man/woman ought not to expect to receive anything from the Lord. We need not expect God to be delighted with our double mindedness.

What do you expect from God?
How has He surprised you?
Where do you fall on the faith scale?
Are you tossed here and there or are you rock steady in your faith?

One Comment

  1. Good one.

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