You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted the Christians. I did my best to get rid of them. I was one of the most religious Jews of my own age, and I tried as hard as possible to follow all the old traditions of my religion. But then something happened! For it pleased God in his kindness to choose me and call me, even before I was born! What undeserved mercy! Then he revealed his Son to me so that I could proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. –Galatians 1:13-16 (NLT)
God is a God of surprises. Wouldn’t you expect God to choose a powerful man with a reputation of inspirational leadership and not a small, shepherd boy to be a King? Wouldn’t you expect God to announce His coming with as much pomp and circumstance as possible and not through a wild, locust-eating man crying in the wilderness? Wouldn’t you expect the King of Kings to be born in a palace with its accompanying fanfare, rather than in a barn? If there is anything we learn from the Bible, it is to expect the unexpected and to make room for God, who often shows up in unexpected times and places.
As people who love God, we have to learn to make room for God. In other words, as Oswald Chambers once wrote, we need to learn “to give God elbow room.” The key is to keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power may break out at any moment. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come, as He likes.
Above all, nurture a sense of spiritual expectancy. One of the lessons God is trying to teach all of us is how to wait upon Him and move as He moves. As we know from Jesus’ own words, “the Spirit blows where it wills…” In other words, sometimes, all we need to do is allow ourselves to move with the Spirit as He moves. Be on the lookout for the Lord. Ask God to teach you to give Him the elbow room He desires.
1. How do you hem God in? Do you expect God to surprise you today? Why or why not?
2. What would it look like in your life if you were to give God more “elbow room”?
Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 19:26; John 3:5-8