Do you like Surprises? How you react to surprises probably depends on what kind of surprise it is, or whether it is a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ thing, and often evokes excitement or fear. Most of us like a nice surprise, like an unexpected gift, a day off work, or a discount on your most recent purchase. Maybe you know someone who doesn’t like unexpected things, such as a birthday party, but prefers to be in control over what is happening. Maybe you know others who blow a gasket when something doesn’t go their way or they get delayed while driving – surprise, a traffic jam! This past Sunday afternoon, I found that I had another sewer issue after having just paid out $375 for a plumber the week before. Within a couple hours, I also found my computer had been attacked by malware and thought I might have lost everything I had not backed up in the past couple months. Every surprise, good or bad, eventually resolves with the right input or in time. The result is not always to our liking, but if viewed correctly, can strengthen our faith.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
If you have been watching any of the Winter Olympics, you have undoubtedly seen more combined excitement and disappointment than should be allowed in any given competition. Often, the difference between gold and 4th place is a tiny slip-up or fractions of a second making up the difference. There are unexpected moments of a last second goal, or the leader wiping out and others passing to victory. You never know what each day holds, whether in the Olympics or in our own little lives. How we deal with victory or defeat on varying levels says a lot about our character and where we put our hope. Where is your hope when things don’t go your way?
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
How often are you surprised by God? Maybe you were reading some scripture and discovered something that was extremely relevant in your life, or had an insight you had never seen before. Maybe your prayers were answered when you least expected them to be. Have you been astounded by the depth of love and joy found in the forgiveness of Christ? When we discover the undeserved grace God has given us, we often lack words to describe it. Maybe you have rarely if ever put yourself in a position to challenge your faith, but have always ‘played it safe’. Keep seeking and keep asking and you will assuredly encounter more joy and more surprises in this life and the one to come!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
Yours in Christ,