We are living in a strange season! This is a season of extraordinary, spectacular, unexpected events. Even the prophetic insight offered by leaders spans a wide range of interpretations and applications. And, interestingly enough, most of the insight is accurate but very diverse. Really strange!

This kind of "strangeness" is not new, however, in light of the Scriptures. A story in Luke 5, for example, details a very interesting encounter. Jesus was teaching in a house of scribes and Pharisees. A man brought his crippled friend to the meeting for healing. Because there was no room to enter the house, several of his friends lowered the sick man through the roof in order to get him close to the Healer.

Jesus told the man that his sins were forgiven. The religious group was offended by His comment because they couldn't believe He had the audacity to think He had the power to forgive sins. So Jesus simply spoke to the paralyzed man to rise up and walk. Luke 5:26 sums up the whole event from the disciples' point of view: "We have seen strange things today!"

The word "strange" used in this verse is a Greek word meaning "contrary to expectation or paradoxical."

Prophetically, this season fits that definition!

For this reason, we must respond to every situation using a fresh perspective. With all the crises occurring in the world, there is a pervading sense of doom, defeat and failure. Our response to these crises should be contrary to every expectation of the world. The anointing of joy and supernatural strength must be activated in our lives. We must report with the opposite spirit and exceed all expectations!

Prior to 1697 in Europe, many people held the belief that swans came in only one color—white. A common saying developed from this belief to denote an impossibility: "That would be like seeing a black swan!"

However, in 1697 an explorer went to western Australia and discovered a beautiful black swan floating on a pond. It was certainly contrary to expectation. In one instant, that which had been deemed impossible was found to be not only possible but real. A black swan was outside the realm of normal expectations because nothing in the past could convincingly point to its possibility.

We must become the black swan in the midst of all the impossibility facing the church and the world in this season.

Simply put, a paradox is something that shouldn't happen but happens anyway. Bumblebees are not aerodynamically able to fly—and yet they fly. Scientists have spent years trying to figure out how and still have no definitive answers. It's paradoxical.

Again, we must respond to every challenge and crisis with the assurance that we are in the season of paradox. I shouldn't be alive after the events that have occurred in my life, but here I am!

Yes, this is a strange season. But prophetic perception and prophetic insight will
equip us to force every event in this challenging time to bring us to victory and fulfillment.

About the author: Shirley Arnold and her husband, Steve, co-pastor TLC Family Church in Lakeland, Florida, with their two daughters and sons-in-law. Named one of the "Top 16 Women in Ministry" by a national publication, Shirley is a revelational teacher who ministers with a strong prophetic mantle. She hosts a weekly, nationally televised program, TLC Live With Dr. Shirley Arnold, and serves as an apostle to many ministries and churches. She also pioneered The Secret Place, a training facility for mentoring and restoring ministers, and the Apostolic Council of Central Florida. She is the author of several books, including her latest, Woman, God's Original Intent, and has contributed articles to SpiritLed Woman, Charisma and Ministry Today. Shirley may be contacted at www.shirleyarnoldministries.org.

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