I love surprises. Check that. I love good surprises. I am the first one in my family who wants a spontaneous celebration for my birthday or special event. A few years ago my family threw a surprise birthday party for my 40th birthday. I loved it. The surprise came with a spontaneous gift – jumping out of a plane. I had one day to prepare for this free fall from 14,000 feet. It is something I always wanted to do despite my fear of heights. I am thankful it was unexpected so that I did not have too much time to think about it.
This past weekend my family surprised me again. I was enjoying my cup of coffee as I wrapped up some church responsibilities. From around the corner my wife and kids came into the living room with some presents and huge smiles. “Surprise!” My birthday is not for two more weeks but they wanted to get the jump on me. I did not expect it at all. It made my day. I love the thrill of experiencing something for that day that was not scheduled. I love the thrill of the moment.
God loves surprises.
God is completely faithful. He gives me life and oxygen every day. God’s provision is a certainty as He provides His grace and presence. Yet, in any given week, there are times where God shows Himself in unexpected ways. In a moment of distress, a word of encouragement comes through another person or song on the radio. When you are wrestling through a painful struggle, a devotional or sermon addresses your concern head on providing you with hope. When you are alone, God prompts a friend to call you. One of my favorites is when I am questioning God’s purposes only to look outside and see the most amazing sunset – a personal rainbow of promise for me (and for others I am sure).
God loves to surprise us.
Yet so often it is easy to dismiss these moments. The surprises are written off as coincidences rather than God-moments in our life. Or, we are so myopic in our distress that we don’t even see the grace in them. Rather than praising God for the phone call from a friend, we screen it letting it go to voicemail. Or, we casually glance at the sunset only to escape to the TV where we can hide from our pain and question where God is.
I imagine how my family would feel if I dismissed their surprises. It would sadden them. Worse yet, I would deprive myself of the joy of experiencing their spontaneous display of love. Equally true for us when we fail to see God’s surprises in our life. It saddens Him because He so desperately wants to show us His grace and presence; but more so it deprives us of the experience of knowing that He deeply cares us – personally and intimately, enough to surprise us!