Embracing God’s Disruptive Grace

As pastors and leaders, we often long for peaceful, calm waters with as little disruption as possible. It is disruptive to see the culture in chaos, the church in crisis, and challenges at every turn. But when we look at the Bible, we regularly see how God moves in that liminal space which we call “disruption.” The old saying, “God comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable” is more true than we sometimes care to admit. But all through the Scriptures we see God taking ordinary people, with their sometimes limited vision, and calling them forth to become full participants in His mighty acts of salvation. Every pastorate and every ministry position is an expression in seed form of this great truth.

Consider this truth as a pattern that can be observed in Scripture. Abraham left his father, became a homeless wanderer, and ended up being the father of a new nation. Joseph was sold into slavery and left in the pit of forgetfulness. Yet, in God’s time (and that must have seemed like a long, long time), Joseph was used to rescue his own people. Moses fled to Midian as an escaped murderer, and ended up unexpectedly in the presence of a burning bush with a call from God. Naomi and Ruth returned to their home empty, but ended up discovering the providence of God in fresh ways through Boaz, their kinsman redeemer. Gideon stood fearful in the winepress and ended up being called to lead an army. David was tending sheep and suddenly found himself slaying a giant and being promised a throne. Jeremiah was thrown into a pit, but in the process rescued the exiles with a word of hope. Jonah was scared and running away from God, but ended up preaching to the Ninevites and becoming the exemplar of God’s heart for the nations. The Widow of Nain was on her way to a cemetery, and instead she was given a resurrection party! Zacchaeus climbed a tree in hope, and found far more than he ever bargained for—a changed heart and divine acceptance. A bunch of fishermen were sitting one day by the sea of Galilee mending nets and ended up with a mission to the nations!

This is how God works. God takes ordinary people and He does extraordinary things. This day, may the presence and grace of God meet you in your own personal version of the pit of Joseph, the desert of Midian, the heartbreak of Naomi, or the fear of Jonah—in the moments before your eye catches a bush on fire. It is precisely in these moments of disruption, fear, and heartbreak that God comes to us in fresh ways.