The temptation was too much. It was a hot summers day at university and lying on the grass sunbathing one floor below me were half a dozen engineering students.
For me, as a first-year accountancy student, they were easy bait.
As I surveyed the scene from the first floor common room, I spied the fire hose in the corner of the room and put my plan into action.
I unreeled the hose slowly and surely towards the outside balcony.
Once in position, I turned on the hose and released the pressure of the water. Then, I could hear screaming below and some anger.
“Let’s get him!” they shouted.
I could hear students making a beeline for the stairwell to head upstairs to my floor.
With much haste, I turned the fire hose off and made a dash for it down the hallway into the safety of my room.
As I cowered in my locked room, I could hear banging and shouting as the budding engineers tested the doors as they made their way along the corridor.
Then something triggered in me.
It just seemed so cowardly of me to hide in my room and not face up to my opponents. It was much more noble to step out and face them.
Anyway, I was pretty sure none of them had spotted me and facing up to them would be the last thing they would expect.
And what was the worst that could happen?
If they had spotted me, the most likely scenario was a dunking in the Avon river and it would all be over and done with within 15 minutes. Or so I thought.
With a sense of fear and excitement, I opened the door to my room and walked slowly out into the hallway.
As I stepped out, I could hear someone shout from the far end of the hallway, “It was him!”
At that moment I had three choices.
Either, to run back into my room and lock the door, make a dash for it down the other end of the hall way or pretend I did not know what they were talking about.
I chose to pretend that I did not know what they were talking about and with some apprehension started walking towards them.
As I got closer, they stared at me, scanning my gangly, beanpole-like body and boyish, innocent-looking face and they started laughing.
And then, when we reached each other, they walked straight past me, continuing to bang loudly on all the doors looking for the culprit.
I was not what they were expecting.
God of the unexpected
There are numerous examples in the Bible of the unexpected.
Goliath was not expecting to be confronted and defeated by a boy shepherd named David.
1 Samuel chapter 17, verse 50
“So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.”
Gideon was not expecting God to tell him to reduce his army from twenty-two thousand to just three hundred to fight the Midianites.
Judges chapter 7, verse 7
“The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.”
After being unsuccessful in lighting their altar, the prophets of Baal were not expecting Elijah to pour large volumes of water over his bull sacrifice, before asking God to bring down his fire to light it.
1 Kings chapter 18, verse 38
“Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.”
The disciples did not expect Jesus to invite a crowd of five thousand to sit down and eat with them when they barely had enough food for themselves.
Matthew chapter 14, verse 19
“And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.”
The followers of Jesus did not expect their future King to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey.
Matthew chapter 21, verses 6-7
“The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.”
And the Roman governor’s soldiers mocked Jesus because he did not fit into their view of what a King of the Jews would look like.
Matthew chapter 27, verse 29
“Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.”
These stories are a reminder that God does not do things our way and follow our rules. He is God.
With HIM anything is possible.
With HIM we can defeat giants, win battles against the odds, multiply resources and turnaround any situation we are in.
God is in charge and will re-work things to our advantage and to HIS glory.
And it is also a reminder that God may be doing something in our lives or circumstances, totally different and much deeper than what we might expect.
Wayne Graham worked in the media for more than 30 years before leaving to follow a call to set up The Daily Encourager, a values based media showcasing the best of New Zealand society. He has a passion for Jesus, enjoys walking, ball sports, the arts and song writing.