When You Least Expect It

Jesus learned that his friend Lazarus was seriously ill, but he made no attempt to go visit him. In fact, Jesus delayed going to visit his friends, Martha and Mary of Bethany, and their brother Lazarus so that Lazarus could die. After he’d been dead for four days, he finally arrived at their house. He asked Mary if she believed in the resurrection of the dead. “Of course,” she replied.

“I’m the resurrection and the life,” he told her, and then insisted on going to visit the tomb. After weeping over his dead friend, he ordered the stone covering it moved away, then called Lazarus out. The man who had been dead four days, whose body had decayed and was causing a bit of a stink, came hopping out, wrapped in grave clothes but very much alive and well. (See John 11)

Sometimes God acts in a completely unexpected manner, after all is obviously lost.

Years ago my wife and I faced a significant crisis early in our marriage. My wife had decided not to sign a new contract at the private school where she taught. I was a college professor at a small Christian college, which decided to make radical changes in the Bible department so that my contract was not renewed. By the end of that first summer after the academic year, our paychecks came to an end–and neither of us had found a new position yet.

During the first week of September, an envelope arrived from an old friend. When I opened it, a bit of currency fluttered to the floor. To my surprise, it was a hundred dollar bill. Five identical bills then spilled out and floated to the ground.

The words in the letter were short and simple. “God told me that you were in need of money. Would you mind if I sent you six hundred dollars every month?”

My friend didn’t even know we were unemployed. But faithfully, every month, an envelope arrived with cash. After about five months, my wife and I got new jobs. Before we could tell our friend, another envelope arrived:

“My sister and brother are going to Mozambique to become medical missionaries. Would you mind if I sent them the money now instead?”

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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