By definition, God will always surprise us – by turning up in unexpected ways, not acting in a way we could predict or control. After all, He is God. He will do as He wishes and we have no right to demand that He acts in a specific way to suit our concept of how He should behave. To believe otherwise is to attempt to limit God to the boundaries of our own finite imaginations.

However, in tension with this we have God’s guarantee that He will act consistently in relation to how He has chosen to reveal Himself. We therefore need wisdom to understand Him and deepen our relationship with Him.

A classic example of this is the image of the suffering servant in Isaiah ch.42 v.1-9. This is a sharp contrast to our view of the Lord of the Universe on whom we have no claim for mercy beyond His grace – yet it does not contradict this revelation. It gives added nuances and depth and explains much of how we are expected to act. We are shown this picture of a suffering servant, because to lead, we too must serve. We see incomparable power exercising justice – but tempered by a tender mercy, because we too are expected to do what is right and forgive as we are forgiven. If it is not too hard for our Creator, then as the people He has chosen to demonstrate His power and love, it should not be too hard for us.

This is the challenge we face, but – also with it comes the promise that not only will He fulfil it, but that the future is assured – we can touch it through faith and live in its benefit now. The choice is entirely up to us.