Even in the midst of what has been a very trying season, God has been reminding me that He likes to surprise us.
Personally, this has come through a couple of fun anecdotes over the last couple weeks:
- I took my 5 year-old to an arcade for the first time. Of course, he only earned enough tickets to trade in for about 3 pieces of candy. However, a nice older couple came up to him and GAVE HIM their HUGE stuffed ninja (one of the biggest prizes available!) Of course, he was completely over the moon to accept the gift, and now he has high expectations of all future visits to an arcade!
- I was the recipient of a drive-thru Random Act of Kindness for the first time recently. I rarely get breakfast at McDonalds, but I ordered a Bacon Egg & Cheese Biscuit and a Mocha, and when I got up to the window to pay, the cashier told me the car in front of me had already covered my bill! Of course I paid for the car behind me! You have to keep it going when you’re a recipient of a Random Act of Kindness!
- This is super silly, but someone gave me what’s called a “Unicorn Bath Bomb.” I I thought this was because the bath bomb itself was multiple bright colors, kind of like a unicorn. But as I was enjoying my hot bath and the bath bomb eventually dissolved, up popped the tiniest little unicorn! It made me laugh and remember that life is indeed full of surprises! And now I keep the unicorn on my desk to remind me to look for surprises and the whimsical in life.
I’m going through a Bible study with some friends – “Elijah” by Priscilla Shirer, and the second week brings up this exact theme, that God loves surprising us.
In the story in 1 Kings 17, Elijah was in a desolate place called Cherith for what historians imagine to have been about 18 months. Basically, it was a dried up creek or ravine. He didn’t have access to food. However, God used the most unexpected means to much sure Elijah had sustenance: Ravens came twice a day to feed him.
Priscilla goes into great detail as to why ravens were such a surprise choice … one that could have clearly only come from God! Ravens are known as being stingy and greedy when it comes to food. They don’t like to share their food! (sounds like me!). Also, they don’t like returning to the same place. They are wanderers. And yet, the same birds brought him food twice a day. Seriously, ornithologists have no explanations as to why or how ravens tended to Elijah for more than a year. It doesn’t make logical sense.
God decided to use an unexpected source to meet a very real need.
So often in life, I find myself dwelling on disappointments. Disappointed that such and such family member or friend wasn’t there to help when I needed them. Saddened that the people I thought would always be there for me are too busy with their own very stressful lives to be the support I need.
Yet, what if God wants to surprise me?
What if, instead of using the people I would expect to bring comfort or help, He uses someone or something altogether different?
What if His idea of help and refreshment and comfort look like something altogether different to Him? Maybe I think I need a 60-minute massage and a long nap, but He knows I really need a free McDonald’s breakfast from a stranger. Maybe I think I need a two-hour long worship and prayer session, but He wants to surprise me by completely refreshing my spirit through one worship song on my drive to work.
I love being surprised. And I don’t want to flippantly dismiss any of the surprises God brings my way. I want to embrace and be thankful for each one.