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

Image courtesy of adamr/


  • Naomi

    Hi, Kim

    Thanks so much for this message today. I’m taking away with me “Things are not always as they appear” and “Lay your need before Him. He is able. He is the God of the unexpected.” I don’t know why I’m still led to pray and believe God for a miracle regarding my marriage. I wish I could pray something different, but when I kneel I’m just not led to do so. So, let’s see what happens. Thanks, again!

  • Tambra

    Very encouraging! Sometimes I think well I am getting to old for these prayers to be answered they will never come to fruition. I tell myself this is a season in my life to let go of some dreams, wants, desires that I really would consider these to be God’s desires, and a part of God’s perfect plan.
    There are some things I would love to see God do to bring about a work/service in my life to glorify Him in my sunset years:)) Not a baby of course:)) Haha! But I still have some deep desires to years of unanswered prayers ( 7 years to be exact)that I would love to see God answer but I know He responds and answers in a way that will bring Him the greatest glory! And so in knowing His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts! I am content with abiding in Him. Because I know my Father always knows whats best for His children. This seems to be the season in my life of getting things in order, which is a huge prayer answered. God is a God of order, and I am starting to see things happening just makes me marvel at what He’s up to!! He is amazing and a God of excitement! I am sure that Mary and Elizabeth experienced that excitement of God’s amazing plans and purposes for their lives that they never expected. What a “WOW” moment in their lives!!!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Naomi ~

    I hope you went back to read the comment that Viv left for you below yesterday’s post. Joining you in prayer, asking God to give you clear direction and discernment. May your deepest needs be met in abiding in His love:

    “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

    Just as it is written,

    But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Pausing to pray for you now ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, precious friend ~

    I can relate to so much of what you said. There are still so many prayers that I long to see God answer and many days that I have to remind myself of the truth that: If I knew all that God was doing, if I could see His ending from my beginning, there would be nothing in His plan that I would change (from the post about Naomi: “Emptied to be Filled”).

    When I get discouraged with unanswered prayer, all I have to do is turn my mind to all the amazing things I’ve seen Him do and it assures me that, “He’s got this!” 🙂

    Love you, friend ~