This article in honor of Jessica Nelson's 26th Birthday. Surprise, Jessie!
I have orchestrated two surprise birthday parties for Kevin, and he found out about both of them beforehand, so I gave up. I told him it’s his turn to plan one for me. But I’m not holding my breath, since he’s not the party animal I am, and I may be waiting a long, long time!\
God, on the other hand, seems to delight in surprising us. I believe He gets His kicks by doing things in unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary ways, just to remind us that He is still in the miracle business, and we needn’t worry if our problems seem more impossible than the next guy’s. He can fix anything with one little surprise.
I’ll bet Daniel was surprised when those lions the king had thrown him in with went to sleep! And, don’t you think the disciples were surprised to see Jesus walking on the water in a squalling storm? How about when He raised a widow’s son from his coffin in the middle of the funeral procession? And, the surprise to clinch them all was when God resurrected Jesus after He’d been dead three days. Now, that’s something to party about!
God has given me a few notable surprises in my life. When I was seventeen and thought I had sinned far too much for Him to ever forgive me, I came across a verse in Hebrews 10:17 that told me, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.” God was saying, “Surprise! I love you in spite of your failings! I do want you in my family!”
When my friend Brad told me that his friend, Kevin needed a wife, and I agreed to pray for him, God said, “Surprise!” Then He used me to answer my own prayer!
Eighteen years ago when my son and I were getting on the freeway in L.A. to go to the grocery store, we prayed that God would let us live in the country someday. By the time we got the call to come to Paris, I had forgotten that prayer. I wanted to stay put with my great friends, my prestigious job, and my 235 restaurants to choose from. But, God had not forgotten. Surprise! We are happier here than we have ever been.
When I get into a pickle, whether it be of my own making or someone else’s, I need to remind myself of God’s ability and willingness to surprise me. I need to keep I Corinthians 2:9 in the forefront of my mind: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has entered into the heart of mankind the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
He loves to jump out when you least expect Him, and turn impossible situations around. He
loves to change people’s hearts, heal incurable cases, rescue from prison, restore what’s broken, and fix the worst problems imaginable. The bigger the mess, the more fun He has surprising you when He steps in and unscrambles it. His resources are unlimited, and His ideas are the cleverest.
Next time you come up against a stubborn mountain that refuses to move out of your way, instead of saying with everyone else, “Well, you never know what’s gonna happen,” say “God, I’m ready for a surprise!”
5 years ago