Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of Messiah. Messiah, however, did not come in the way most expected. He was a fantastic surprise, in almost every way. True, the people should have known God would not send some mighty muscle ripped warrior to lay the smack down on all the evildoers, give all the gold and land and power to the Hebrews, and sit on a big ole throne of preciousness! That’s just not God’s style, like it or not. It just seems that, from the beginning, God is always about surprises. He brings what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. That makes some folks mad, I’m sure.
However, when we just give in to his surprise laden way of gracing us, we find out life. When we just let go of trying to force a way and control a path, we find out hope. When we finally quite demanding our so called “ideas” for how everything in our lives and world should be, we find out love. In life, in hope, in love, we live out the surprise of having a God who actually knows what he is doing. This is no amateur. He’s been doing the God thing for some time now.
Even though I’m typically not prepared for them, I love his surprises! And, I have received a lot of them lately. I’ve gotten a lot of financial surprises, at the very moments I felt God was not doing his job to my satisfaction. When my best friend committed to supporting me, I was shocked at how much he actually committed to give! Shocked! In a good way! It’s wonderful. Another financial surprise came from an amazing little church in my home town, New Hope Baptist Church. I have never been a member of New Hope. I have never served their either. Yet, when they learned about what God was sending my family to do, they allowed God to surprise me through their faith and love by including me into their church budget in a very, very significant way! Sometimes the monetary surprises come from surprisingly surprising places, like my health insurance provider! You read correctly, my insurance! We received a sizable check from them just the other day.
The best God surprises, however, usually have nothing to do with money. Such is the case with our number one surprise. We should have seen this one coming. We didn’t. It has surprised us just how this whole move is transforming our family! We are closer and more committed to each other than ever before… and we were already pretty close! Our boys have simply hit a growth spurt of maturity and faith. They are so confident in God right now, as well as in themselves. This whole transition has deepened their positive self-images as children of God, empowered for a calling. At the same time, Kim and I have discovered new depths of peace and faith. All of this is a fantastic gift from the Lord.
These last few months have not unfolded in a way I would have ever guessed. And, to confess, there have been moments when I was ticked off at God for not doing things when and how I thought he should. He decided to do things his way instead. SURPRISE! But you know, I’d be lost without surprises. Doxology!