Surprised by God's Word

Written by  John Schmidt
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“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)


I am a pastor and I often quote these verses, but every now and then I am still surprised when I see God’s Word accomplishing far more than I expect. It happened again just last week. 


A man came to see me about a personal problem. He doesn’t attend church anywhere, but he needed some advice and didn’t know where to turn. So he came to see me. Why? Seven years ago I had led a devotional in his workplace. I remember the occasion well because I viewed it as a complete waste of time. Yes, I had faithfully read God’s Word and shared some helpful applications, but when I finished no one responded or even spoke to me. I left feeling completely ineffective and useless. I was sure that no one had listened and nothing had been accomplished.
Yet, seven years later standing in front of me was a man seeking my help because God had spoken to him through the Bible passage I had read and commented on that day. He had come to see me in hopes that God would speak to him again and give him direction. As we looked at what the Bible had to say about his problem I am certain God did.

Here are a few things I believe about the Bible:


• The Bible is true. “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17 (NIV)


• The Bible is not like any other book.  It is inspired by God himself!  “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)


• The Bible is living and powerful! “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”  Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)


• The Bible is our guide in all matters of faith of and practice. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NIV)


So, if I believe all of these things why was I surprised that God had spoken through His Word to (at least) one person during a devotional that I had viewed as worthless? Where did I get the notion that if I don’t see immediate results when presenting God’s Word nothing is happening? What if God’s timing is different from mine? What if the Word I present today is watering a crop that will bear fruit seven years from now? What if God just wants me to faithful and leave the results to Him?


I thank God for reminding me again of the power and effectiveness of His Word.  As a result I have renewed my resolve to let Him speak and move me (and my expectations) out of the way. Then maybe next time I won’t be so surprised.

John Schmidt is Senior Pastor of Centerpoint Fellowship Church. He may be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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