My son, Luke, is a brilliant soccer player. Even at a young age, he had fantastic control skills and a powerful kick. Luke is also a brilliant artist, appreciating the beauty of the world around him and translating that onto paper with pencil and paint. Unfortunately, this combination was lethal. Luke’s team members had no idea whether he had his eye on the ball or was observing a falling leaf or a pink-petaled daisy. One minute he would be dedicated and deft, the next distant and distracted. By the time he turned five, it was made clear to my son that he had no future in the cutthroat world of our local boys’ soccer team. Unpredictability, it seems, makes relationships, trust, teamwork—and coming out on top—virtually impossible.
We all know that God never lets us down, that he is utterly reliable and consistent. The Bible teaches that God is immutable; unchanging in his nature, character, and purpose. He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” and does not “change like shifting shadows.” He is our Alpha and Omega, beginning and end; his love endures forever. So what do we do when he seems distracted? What do believers do when the circumstances of our lives make God seem erratic, distant, and unpredictable?
In Scripture, God’s people do not always experience God as predictable. God is more likely, it seems, to surprise and shock us. We ask him for one thing, and he gives us another. How can we trust a consistently unpredictable God who continually confounds our expectations?
Talking Back to God?
Economist Nassim Taleb describes how governments face a similar dilemma in the face of what he calls “black swan” events. These are incidents that nobody can predict; ...