Simple. Awkward. Unexpected.

“He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He had no form or splendor that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him.” – Is. 53:2

I am still taken aback by the simplicity with which the Savior of the world showed up on the scene. Israel’s ground was dry. No word from a prophet in 400 years. The people of God’s promise dispersed and largely marginalized across the very land in which they once prospered. Dry ground. Not fertile. Not even close to being cultivated and prepared for the deep roots God’s Messiah would extend. A plant so out of place. A beautiful lush vine with unprecedented potential firmly planted in the middle of a spiritual desert.

Jesus’ birth was far from majestic. It was awkward, humble, and out of place. If a host of angels hadn’t appeared to the shepherds watching their flocks at night to gloriously announce the birth of the long-awaited Messiah, and if these simple men hadn’t been guided to the stable by a star, I doubt they would have been able to differentiate between this tiny Savior in a feeding trough and any other infant child born in lowly circumstance. Jesus’ head didn’t glow with a Renaissance, semi-circular golden aura. His appearance was meek. There was no splendor about Him that we should desire Him. Simple. Awkward. Unexpected.

I believe that the Lord often shows up like this in our personal lives – in simplicity and humility. But so often, we are looking for a God who will come and put an immediate end to our suffering… provide “timely” (according to our time) satisfaction with regard to our wanting… fit nicely inside the four walls of expectation that we have so futilely erected. A conquering King. A majestic Presence. A glorious picture of majesty and supremacy, unmistakably evident in every way.

Sometimes, that is how He shows up. But what if He is often providential in meekness and subtlety? What if our personal God chooses to bless, encourage, or provide for us in ways of less grandeur? What if God’s provision is not at all what you’ve expected? Would you need an angelic choir and a guiding star to announce His presence? Is my life such a spiritual wasteland that any activity of God is awkward, unexpected, and out of place?

I wonder how much of God’s providential working we fail to perceive because we have allowed our spirits to become dry, infertile soil. I wonder what moving of God’s hand, and what measure of His grace and sufficiency I completely miss because His appearing does not conform to what I have desired. I wonder if I ignore His presence in my life because He sometimes chooses meekness over grandeur and humility over flamboyancy.

Grace and Peace,

Tony