One of my grandfathers was a tad bit grumpy when I was growing up. He wasn’t rude or anything, he just wasn’t exactly warm. One day my family went to my grandparents’ house to eat and my grandmother had made something my older brother and I didn’t care for—probably Polish sausage and sauerkraut (yes, I am Polish but I cannot stand that meal). So we did what most kids do in that situation—we grumbled.
Now, my father didn’t have any of that. We were going to eat what we were served. Period. My brother and I knew that our grumbling wasn’t going to get us anywhere, but it made us feel better to do it, so we did as we prepared to sit down and pick at our plates.
And then it happened.
Out of nowhere.
Our grandfather came into the kitchen and declared that if we didn’t want to eat the Polish sausage and sauerkraut, we weren’t going to have to. He was going to take us to Burger King.
My brother and I looked at each other, our mouths agape. We then looked to our father, his mouth agape too. Equally miraculously, our father consented to the plan and off to Burger King we went. When we got there, our grandfather asked what we wanted and told him double cheeseburgers. But that wouldn’t do for my grandfather. No, we were going to have the best—Whoppers for both of us.
I still remember my brother and I sitting on their back porch that warm day flicking off pickles, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes from our Whoppers wondering what in the world had just happened. To this day, I have no idea what changed in my grandfather that day. From that day until his death, our grandfather had a completely different relationship with my brother and me. He was warm, and kind, and talkative with us.
I share that story because it really captures the heart of someone doing something that is completely unexpected. I would never have guessed my grandfather would have done that in a million years. It was just so far outside of his character to that point. But then he did it and it completely blew my mind.
As we prepare to teach God Saved His People Through Esther (Unit 18, Session 2) this week, you will see how God worked in a completely unexpected way through Esther and used her to save His people. My grandfather may have shocked us with his unexpected generosity that day, but doing the unexpected is God’s speciality. It may be helpful to be thinking about the unexpected ways that God works.
Who would have thought of how a baby of a slave would be taken into the king’s own house, grow up, and return one day to free God’s people? That’s what God did with Moses.
Who would have chosen a young boy who was even an afterthought of his own father to defeat a giant, unbeatable enemy soldier and become the king of Israel? God chose David for that.
Who would have used a handful of rather ordinary fishermen to launch a revolution? God did with Jesus’ disciples.
Who would have guessed that a leading persecutor of the church would become its champion theologian and missionary? That’s what God did with Paul.
And who would have thought that a baby born to a poor family would grow up, cause a stir, be rejected by His own people, and be the Savior of the world?
Yes, God seems to delight in working in unexpected ways, which we can see in the Christ connection this week:
God was in control over Haman’s evil plan to destroy the Jews. Like Haman, Satan wants to destroy believers. Satan thought he had won when Jesus died on the cross, but God raised Jesus from the dead and defeated Satan once and for all.
The cross was the greatest way that God did the unexpected. God gave up His own Son who died on the cross so that we can have life. Help your kids see that God excels in doing the unexpected. We see it time and time again in the Bible, it’s at the heart of the gospel, and it is true in our lives as well.
How has God done the unexpected in your life? Leave a comment below.
Here is more help for leaders preparing for the January 29, 2017 session (Unit 18, Session 2) of The Gospel Project for Kids.
Brian Dembowczyk is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to LifeWay. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Brian, his wife, Tara, and their three children—Joshua, Hannah, and Caleb—live in Murfreesboro, TN, where Brian enjoys drinking coffee and teaching 4-5 graders at City Church.