The God of the Unexpected

She lived with the pain of unfulfilled longings, desires unmet, children held in her heart but never in her arms. Hope for bearing was now long past, the dreams of youth swallowed up by a barren womb. Scripture notes that Elizabeth was “righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord” yet she struggled under a shadow of shame.

In her culture, childlessness was viewed as a sign of God’s disfavor.

But things are not always as they appear.

I wonder if Elizabeth faced the brunt of local gossip or snide remarks. She may have wandered down many dark paths of the heart, questioning God’s purposes, struggling with envy as she watched her friends bear several children. She may have long since given up hope, but God had plans beyond what she could have imagined. And God’s good plans included her years of barrenness and the pain of an empty womb.

Her emptiness would make way for His greatest work in her life.

I love when God steps in and brings the unexpected. Little did Elizabeth know how God would use her youthful infertility to glorify Himself in her sunset years.

[box]Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord . . . And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. (Luke 1:13–16)[/box]

Before Gabriel’s shocking arrival, who would’ve thought Elizabeth would bear a child in her old age? Who could have imagined her son’s vital role as the forerunner of the Messiah? Who could have conceived that an angel would deliver this birth announcement?

Only the faith-filled heart expects God to step in to do the unexpected.

Elizabeth’s cold barrenness and years of humiliation melted like snow under warming sun as she praised God’s unexpected work in her life:

[box]This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men. (Luke 1:25)[/box]

Her son would serve as the final Old Testament prophet, preparing the way for the new—God bringing the unexpected once again.

[box]And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins . . . (Luke 1:76–77)[/box]

Perhaps you are in a cold and barren place today. Look beyond your current circumstances, beyond what you now see, with eyes of faith. Fix your heart on the One who can step into the darkest of nights and flood the sky with unexpected light.

He is the One who can bring life to the barren womb and deliverance to the captive.

Lay your need before Him. He is able. He is the God of the unexpected.

What would you like to see the God of the unexpected do in your life?

Adapted from my post 12.17.10 at


  • Darcie

    I find great solace in the Lord that He blesses us so abundantly, and even at times unexpectedly. I am thankful He tells us to come to Him messy, tired and weary. Sometimes, it is so hard for me to stay in a place where I go to the Lord with the expectation He will answer. But that is exactly how God wants us to come, like little children, being persistent, crying, with our short attention spans, blurting out whatever is on our minds.
    I have to think Elizabeth often came to the Lord with tears flooding her eyes, and that she lost that sense of expectation of God answering as she grew older. She must of been overwhelmed when she found out she was going to have a child.
    Coming off a rough year, where at times God was silent, there are so many prayers I want to be answered. I pray that the Lord would rekindle the fire of expectation that God is listening and will answer in His perfect timing, that I would have a child like dependence upon Him l.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Amen to what you said, Darcie! I want to have a child-like dependence on Him always!

    I’m joining you in prayer that the Lord would rekindle your fire of expectation that God is listening. I’ll be doing a blog post the first week in January where I will list several book recommendations for growing in your prayer life, so I hope you’ll “stay tuned” for that! You might find some of the resources helpful this next year.

    Blessings to you, friend ~