He’s Way Ahead of You

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

 …Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24 NASB

I am a planner. I begin every day by making a list of what I am going to accomplish. But as much as I try to envision the day ahead, it’s rare to see things go according to plan. A call from a friend needing to meet and talk. An emergency babysitting request for a sick grandchild. A knock at the door announcing an unexpected guest. You know what they say—the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Of course, unlike me, God knows the future and only plans for what He already knows will happen. The prophet Daniel discovered this after getting a vision he could not interpret. As he began to pray for understanding, the angel Gabriel appeared before him. He informed Daniel, “At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you…” (Daniel 9:23 NASB).

Did you catch that? Daniel hadn’t even finished his prayer when God sent Gabriel down to answer his request!

The psalmist put this ability of God this way: “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all” (Psalm 139:4 NASB).

We can scheme and plan. But there is no way we can project exactly what will happen at any given moment. Because life happens. And those bumps in the road come when we least expect them.

But nothing takes God by surprise.

That fact is an immeasurable comfort to me when disaster strikes. It was the truth I taught my fifth graders on the terrible morning of 9-11. After relating what news I had heard, I asked them, “Do you think this has taken the Lord by surprise? Can you picture Him in heaven, face-palming and saying, “Planes as weapons!! I didn’t think of that one.”

Of course, they knew enough about God to know that would be a ridiculous idea.

Why would we ever doubt Him? Maybe we take Him too literally when He metaphorically describes Himself in human terms. In Exodus 7:5, God says that He will stretch His hand against Egypt. In Numbers 6:25, Aaron included in his benediction that the Lord would make His face shine upon us. Psalm 34:15 tells us the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous. In Isaiah, God proclaims, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”

Word pictures are very common in Scripture, allowing us to use the characteristics of readily familiar things to understand God a little better. But we should never be foolish enough to limit Him by those metaphors.

When Moses asked to see His glory, the Lord told him, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live” Exodus 33:20 NASB). He put Moses in the cleft of a rock and covered him with His hand until He had passed by.

God is so much greater than anything we can imagine. The loftiest, most incredible thoughts we have about Him are woefully inadequate to even come close to the reality of who He really is. “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NASB). To restrict God to our human limitations will limit how much we can trust Him.

Planning and having goals can be a good thing, but we must keep our hearts and minds open to the “interruptions” He will bring along. Understanding that His plans are always best, that His ways are higher than ours, will keep our hearts soft and able to respond to Him in trust and love when they do. And will enable us to claim His agenda for our own.

He’s Way Ahead of You – encouragement & insight from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)


About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: What “interruptions” have turned out to be blessings in your life?

7 thoughts on “He’s Way Ahead of You

  1. Such great reminders, Julie. This is very appropriate for what we all have been living through. I am a planner too, and I am learning to be more open to God directing my steps. My faith has grown during this time of surrendering and letting God be in control.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just this morning, the psalm I read (46) reminded me: “Cease striving and know that I am God.” I looked up the Hebrew on that command, and found “cease striving” meant “drop it, let go, relax.” We can do that by remembering who He is. (And it will take an eternity to know Him–there’s always more to learn!) Thanks for the encouraging comment, Crystal!!

      Liked by 2 people

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