When I went out for a morning prayer "walk" around my neighborhood this last week and prayed some specific prayers, I felt quite surrendered. I did not think I was in any sense giving a demand to God or requiring him to do anything my way (as if that would have worked any way). At the same time, I probably thought I had at least some idea how he might chose to get things done.
By that night, God's answer was already coming in. (Don't worry if things don't happen that quickly for you. They usually don't for me either.) But in this case his answer was as shocking as it was clear. It absolutely could not have been any more different from what I would have expected or guessed. How could this happen? 48 years of following Jesus, and he is still totally surprising me.
But I should have known. After all, don’t I remember the main story? God told his people for centuries about a Messiah who would come and bring his kingdom. But when he came, that Messiah was not at all what they thought he would be.
Far from it, he was a man of peace not a warrior. He was servant not a conqueror. He came to bear our sins, not to inflict pain on the occupiers. He came not to make the Jews top dogs but to include the Gentiles, not to burn the tax collectors but to have dinner with them; not to stone the prostitutes but to usher them into the Kingdom before the teachers. How often I have taught this. He's wild. He's so out of the box, we may wonder if he knows what a box is. I have should have known. But he still shocked me.
Think you have some idea of how God is going to get something done? Be surrendered, but still watch out. God is likely to do something you would have never dreamed. And, by the way, a little footnote, he almost always will require you to put more skin in the game. That came through with this answer, too.
"Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1Corinthians 1:20).