Our Unexpected God
3rd Sunday of Advent
December 15, 2019
John in his prison cell sent his disciples to ask Jesus,
“Are you the one who is to come or are we to wait for another?
From Matthew 11:2-11
In today’s gospel, Jesus does not meet John the Baptist’s expectations. Do you ever feel God has let you down? John did! Suddenly, John finds himself in prison by Herod for preaching the truth, and Jesus has not acted quite the way he had expected the Messiah to act. Jesus, who has been proclaiming he would “set the prisoners free,” has not only made no effort to free John, but apparently has not even visited his cousin. Jesus, of course, has come to set us spiritually free. John preached fire and brimstone; Jesus was more gentle. From prison John thus sends these words to Jesus, “Are you really the Christ?” Even John the Baptist had doubts, because in some ways Jesus acted so differently from John’s personal mindset.
The Lord does not always meet our expectations either. We pray for one thing – and receive another. We do not understand why God permits a certain situation to develop in our lives. We are treated unjustly somehow, and God appears to ignore us. In fact, we sometimes can expect God to act in the usual way and he will turn and act in an unexpected way.
We can learn so much about God by simply meditating on the life of Jesus. In those (often frequent) moments when God’s will will take us by surprise, we have a wonderful opportunity to grow in trust by our acceptance of God’s will. When we begin to develop a relationship with the Lord, he frequently will begin to challenge us. We pray for patience – and his answer is more opportunities to practice patience; we pray for our enemies and he begins to heal our heart toward them.
God doesn’t just meet our expectations. He exceeds them. No one expected God to come to earth as a little child! God may come into your life in an equally surprising way this week. Let us pray that we will recognize our unexpected God when he comes. Father Gary