16 Aug Beyond our Understanding
This has been a summer of weddings for me. In this season of life, it feels like there are more weekends with weddings than not.
Amidst all the festivities, there is one wedding tradition I always avoid: the bouquet toss. If there’s ever a prime opportunity to slip off to the restroom or run and get something I “forgot” in the car, it is as soon as Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” starts playing.
I will say my “duck and dodge” tactic has been tragically unsuccessful this summer, as it’s hard to escape when the bride personally requests your participation or worse, when the DJ calls you out for being the only single female not on the dance floor.
Regardless, there’s actually a fascinating phenomenon that occurs during this event.
The scene that takes place during the bouquet toss is amazingly predictable. It begins with a majority of giddy girls delightfully huddling in the middle and a handful of reluctant participants hesitantly taking their place behind the excited ones out of social obligation.
“The scene that takes place during the bouquet toss is amazingly predictable.”
Then, there is usually the one smiling, incredibly single girl in the very front and center, both arms outstretched, directly in line to catch the bouquet.
Last but not least, there is the girl who has been in a dating relationship for a while, eager to be affirmed in her personal prediction of being the next to be married, who swoops in out of nowhere, dives in front of single front-and-center girl, and catches the bouquet.
What’s interesting is this: regardless of the outcome of this classic wedding tradition, it is the girl who has been in a relationship for a long time who will be the next to get married. That reality has been determined before the bouquet toss occurs. However, in an effort to confirm this future with superstitious tradition, this girl still feels the need to reach out, jump in front, and snatch the bouquet from the girl who was in position to receive it.
Similarly, in Genesis 25, we see that God had already chosen Jacob, the younger and less likely son, over Esau to be the dominant nation before he was born. By custom, Esau would have been in position to receive his father’s blessing, but God’s plan was predetermined that Jacob would be the one to receive it. While this had been made known, Jacob still came out of the womb grasping Esau’s heel, and as the story progresses, we see him manipulating and stepping in front to ensure that God’s plan for himself was a reality.
“. . . as the story progresses, we see him manipulating and stepping in front to ensure that God’s plan for himself was a reality.”
If I’m being honest, the theme echoing in this passage is also a theme threaded throughout my life. It is that God’s plan is often not what we would expect or predict, yet He is sovereign and His timing is perfect.
Isaac, Jacob’s father, had been married to Rebekah for twenty years before they got pregnant. It was already not an easy, everything-falling-into-place type of story. After two decades of waiting and growing old, with circumstances seeming bleaker, Rebekah became pregnant and gave birth to not one, but two sons.
Esau, being the oldest, was in line to receive his father’s blessing, and according to culture at the time, would have predictably been the dominant nation. Yet, that was not God’s plan for him. God’s Word and His promises are always true, but they do not always unfold the way we expect or according to our timing.
“It is that God’s plan is often not what we would expect or predict, yet He is sovereign and His timing is perfect.”
The impossible pieces of Jacob’s story can be traced back to God’s fingertips aligning and assigning and setting in motion.
God’s tendency to work outside normal customs or predictable circumstances is an intentional move to point His people back to Himself. He is not constrained by the boundaries of what we believe makes sense, and He is gracious enough to not operate within them. Rather, He moves in ways we can’t understand so our only option is to lean in and respond in faith.
“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.”
– Romans 11:33; 36
Audrey is a recent graduate of Clemson University and is now embarking on post-grad life in Greenville, SC. She enjoys the outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and is proud to say she finally learned to drink her coffee black. Audrey attends our Pelham Campus.