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October 4, 2011

A friend of mine recently became a pastor.  One of his favorite nuggets of wisdom is this: never pray for a sign; you’re sure to ignore it.  He means that a lot of times when we ask God for guidance, like if we ask for a sign, we already have some idea of what we want it to be.

But one of the things I love about God is that he never tickles our ears like that.  A lot of confusing things start to make sense when we grasp the bigger picture–that everything in the universe that exists, he made it for himself, for his own purposes.  And those purposes always stay the same.

And those purposes include, ultimately, our happiness and fulfilment.  Our problem is just that we think too small.  We see a thing, and we want it.  And a lot of times there’s a thing we can’t see, a thing that we would want more if we could see it, if we really believed that it is there.

This is important to keep in mind.  God likes to resolve things in ways that we didn’t expect, sometimes even ways we hadn’t considered.  And he wants them to be good.

Here’s an example from the bible: there’s this guy, Zechariah, and he’s a prophet during one of the very low times in Jewish history.  The people have been in captivity for 70 years, and they are allowed to return to their homeland, and they’re hoping they can just scratch out a living.  But God tells Zechariah to let the people know what he has planned.  He describes this amazing peaceful country, secure and prosperous.  He says “…now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem.”

They couldn’t see what he could see, what he had planned.  He didn’t want them to just have a country, he wanted them to have the best country.  Just like he doesn’t want his people to have any job, or any friendship, he wants us to have the best job for us, the right friendship for us.  And he wants to get the credit and the praise and the glory for it.  In the same chapter he says “It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvelous to me?”

I guess what I’m saying is He likes to do amazing, unexpected things.  With God imagine a life full of obstacles and delightful surprises.

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