If you’ve read many of my posts, you know I often pray, Surprise me, God!
I’m not sure when I started asking God to surprise me, but I do know it wasn’t before I felt convinced firmly that divine surprises are always based upon God’s never-changing, always good character.
Life deals humanity some painful hands. I’m neither naïve about nor unfamiliar with distress and discouragement. One needs only turn on television to be hit with the stark reality that this old world in which we reside is often brutal.
I could never pray, surprise me, God if I believed on any level God is the source of humanity’s hurts.
God’s surprise to me is:
the flicker of hope lighting dark days.
inspiration that enables a victim to become a victor.
a glimpse of goodness amid violence.
the grasp of grace in times of grief.
a moment of laughter through the tears.
I pray, surprise me, God because I believe God’s surprises will help me keep placing one foot of faith in front of the other, enabling me to journey through life’s painful passages.
I ask God to surprise me because I believe God is imaginative and can ignite ideas and incites causing me to exclaim, Wow, God, I never would have thought of that!
A friend told me a story about his faith-building God-surprise. Joe (a pseudonym) was in the early stages of his Christian faith journey when his life began to take some cruel twists and turns. Instead of asking for God’s surprise, my friend told me he said, God, couldn’t you just toss me a bone now and then?
Despondent after the tragic death of his beloved wife, Joe headed to another state for a challenging bicycle trip. After a grueling day of peddling, Joe was famished when he entered the only restaurant open in a small Western town.
My friend said he still felt hungry after eating a late breakfast meal. Sitting in the booth all alone, thinking about ordering more pancakes, the waitress stopped by. “Hey,” she said, “a guy just ordered a stack of pancakes, but he got a call and had to leave. Would you like ‘em?”
Instead of “just a bone,” God surprised my friend with a stack of flapjacks! I loved Joe’s story and told him it reminded me of Psalms 86. The 17-verse prayer (I like it with the ancient KJV vernacular) begins with David’s lament:
Bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me: for I am poor and needy.
David unpacks more of his problem before declaring in v. 15,
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
In the final verse of his prayer, David asks God,
Shew me a token for good…
So, why do I pray, Surprise me, God!
Like my friend Joe, I believe on a primal level God cares enough to at least “toss me a bone now and then.”
And, like the psalmist David, I’m convinced God will “shew me a token” representing godly goodness.
No matter where you are right now in your faith journey, I’m asking the God of grace and mercy to surprise you with a good, faith-building gift…