I was not quite 60, assigned to a group project that never seemed to get started. Every time the group met another basic idea of what our task actually was emerged, and/or some clever new way of getting it done was suggested. It was a volunteer group, our leadership was supposed to emerge, or better be collaborative, no one had appointed authority. Part of our trouble was that the realization of what out task really was really was a moving target. And it helped and didn’t that the clever ideas were really clever.
And suddenly, at our last meeting it all came together, volunteers took on all the tasks, and we were on our way. The morning of our presentation we gathered for a dry run. Then out of nowhere a totally new idea gets proposed; everything we had agreed on vanished, mass confusion, and chaos dominated the space. I turned to person next to me, who was equally stunned, and shook my head saying OMG this is going to stink!
I expect you’ve been in similar situation. It may not be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory; but you know the experience.
But here’s the thing; literally as we walked into the room to make our presentation you could feel the group change. Everyone got their parts done on time, in a coordinated collaborative style. We did a) what we’d been assigned to do; and b) what we set out to do; on top of that the audience loved it. It was a miracle.
Well it wasn’t really a miracle, nothing like Jesus calling Lazarus out of tomb immediately after Martha says OMG – this is going to stink!
A couple of observations about this point in the story of Jesus calling Lazarus, from the dead. [i] A. OMG is not an expression of faith or belief. B. There is the point in these situations when you’ve made your valid carefully thought out observation when one needs to discern if you are pointing to the works of God, or if you are impeding the works of God. Part of the discernment is a healthy dose of the presence, grace, mercy and power of God exceeds our concerns, and our imaginations. Sometimes allowing ourselves to be surprised leads us deeper into faith than we’d previously thought possible.
[i] John 11:39