Thursday, February 7, 2008

The unexpected strikes back.

About a week ago I wrote a post about how ultimately we’re all called to do the unexpected. That in life, that is one of our greatest purposes. And in Acts 16 this morning I was reminded of that.

Here is the setup:

After a possessed lady follows Paul and Silas around for a while screaming “hey, this is God! This is God right here!” Paul tells the demon, “Are you kidding me? Get out!” That’s not the Greek translation exactly but you get the point.

Because a family in town was making money off this lady’s predictions Paul and Silas get thrown in jail for removing the demon. That night, there’s a huge earthquake and all the prisoners can go free. Let’s pick up the story in verse 27:

The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

I love that because the reason the jailor wanted to be saved wasn’t the earthquake. Sometimes I think that if I’m going to share my faith with someone it has to be an earthquake kind of moment. Like I have to say something really smart or really big or really powerful and that will move their heart. Or there will be some sort of miraculous event that we’ll both be unable to deny and then the person I am talking with will want to believe in part based on the magnitude of my witness.

But that’s not what happens here.

The jailer wasn’t blown away by the earthquake, he was moved by the fact that Paul and Silas didn’t leave when they had the chance. They did the unexpected. They stayed in their jail cell even though the doors were open.

Everything in life says that convicts will run as soon as the doors are thrown open. That is what the jailor knew to be true, but then Paul flipped true upside down. When confronted with the unexpected, the very first sentence the jailor says is “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

That’s the big question today, what are you doing that’s unexpected? It doesn’t have to be a jailbreak. If a coworker is a jerk to you then being kind in return is the unexpected. When you’re mom expects the same kind of phone call she’s had with you for decades and instead you lover her over the line, that’s unexpected. And that’s all I really want to say.

It doesn’t take an earthquake. It just takes the unexpected.

p.s. the other post about the unexpected is right here.

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