When it comes to my journey with God over the years, I have concluded that nothing is more enjoyable than unplanned encounters or moments when I experienced God first-hand and in real time.
Sometimes what you need is to encounter God when you least planned it, or when it goes beyond rigid routines or schedules. I have noticed that the greatest encounters come when you least expected God to do something. Humans are good at planning things and following traditions, but God as I know Him works in and outside traditions as He pleases.
What’s important is for us to embrace it and obey Him when it happens. Imagine Saul, later named Paul the Apostle, when he was on his way to Damascus persecuting the followers of Jesus when God disrupted his plans. He least expected to encounter Jesus, but that was one of the greatest moments of his life because thereafter he went on to be the pioneer of the Gospel which we hear, live by, and enjoy today.
Here’s what happened to Paul before he became a minister of the word. The Bible says “He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:4-6
Paul had his plans, and routines and was determined at them. But God had other greater plans for him. To preach the Gospel to nations. God also has greater plans for you, beyond your daily routine and plan. He goes beyond your plan. It is in the unplanned experiences, meetings, prayer moments, job assignments, business opportunities, hurtful moments, unplanned and unexpected decisions we make, or experiences we go through in life that we may encounter God the most.
What it’s like to encounter God
Imagine if you were driving and God said to you “park, and pray”. Oh, you met a beggar and He said, “give him that money in your pocket!”. Yet you had plans to use it for other things. Maybe you stopped and prayed because He said so and it wasn’t even the time you planned to pray every day. It is in such times that marvelous things take place, and encounters with God happen. For Christians and non-Christians alike. Ask Paul!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
You may have your planned times with God, but I want to encourage you to heed His voice when He says to do something even when you did not understand or plan to do it at that time. He may want you to do something that bucks the trend or status quo. Go ahead, obey the voice, and do so. Such times are priceless moments where you can learn God’ voice for yourself, and also experience Him in real time. This encounter with God may disturb the routine for a moment, but it will change you for a lifetime.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
I pray that God disrupts religious routines in your life such that you have an encounter with God in a special way, just so you can get to know what God wants you to do next. That was how I encountered God. When I least expected it, as I was going about my life, God just interrupted everything I thought I knew. Much like Paul.
I chronicled all my life story in my book, How I discovered God. If you are tired of living a mundane life, you need to get ready for Him to change it completely. When he says, “call …so and so!”, even if you didn’t plan to be ready to do so, because you will be surprised by what might just follow.