Open to the unexpected

Earlier this week, as I was scrolling through Facebook, a video that a friend had shared caught my interest. It was on the origin of the gated reverb. “A gated what?!” you might be saying. The gated reverb is why you hear the drums so clearly in Phil Collins’s In the Air Tonight or Lorde’s The Louvre. We take it for granted but it’s a pretty big deal in the music world.

     God used this video to direct my thoughts. You see, the gated reverb was discovered by accident. While recording, the sound engineers had a microphone in the studio to talk back and forth with the musicians and mistakenly left it live while recording a track. They had no idea what they had done until they played it back. This ‘accident’ changed the sound of music in the 80s and has recently resurged in music today. But it never would have happened if someone didn’t make a mistake in a studio in the early 80s.

     At our home church, I just preached on James 4. Open your Bible and read James 4:13-16. James is using this account of merchants and their plans to chastise his reader’s arrogance in planning without taking account of God’s intention for their lives. 

     So, how open are we to unplanned ways that God can work and move? Yes we should plan and be intentional with our time but I also think we need to be open to unexpected or unintentional opportunities that God puts in front of us. This is quite real for me at the moment as we are developing our plans for SIM NZ’s future. How do we both stay intentional with our strategic plans and stay flexible enough to step into the unexpected opportunity that could have implications for years to come? How do we keep from being arrogant in our plans?

     It has me thinking, where would I be today if I wasn’t willing to expect and follow God’s revelation? Would we be in New Zealand now or would I still be pursuing a banking career?

     It has me thinking, how many of our current partners would say their stepping into serving overseas was unexpected — a shift in a totally new direction for them?

     How does it have you thinking?

—Rob Reynolds