When is the last time you experienced a surprise? When did things turn out in a way different from what you expected? A few weeks ago, Dawson, Levi and I made a trip to Springfield, Illinois. Levi and Dawson wanted to attempt the Joe Rogers Chili Challenge (it was featured on Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food). You have to eat one bowl of Firebrand Chili and you get your name posted on the wall. It is no easy feat. To my surprise, both Dawson and Levi completed the challenge. Levi astonishingly was the youngest to ever complete the challenge. You can watch a video of Dawson here and Levi here. I was surprised at how it all turned out. I thought I would be encouraging the boy’s effort as we walked out; yet we left celebrating their victory over the Firebrand Chili.
This week’s text leaves us surprised. Jacob is near death and ready to bless his sons. As you may know, it was common practice to bless the oldest son, passing on the family name, land and leadership. Yet Jacob has an alternative plan. As we have seen before, God likes to mix it up; His ways are unpredictable. Join us on Sunday as we walk though Genesis 48 together.
As we reflect on this story, we are reminded that God’s calling cannot be mapped out. We are challenged with a willingness for flexibility. We are often adverse to change, unwilling to carry out ministry in a different way. Maybe God would surprise our methods with new callings. May we consistently be open to God’s surprises. May we be willing to follow him into the unknown, the difficult, the new.