When you begin any adventure, you never know what kind of surprise you may encounter down the road. And so it was when we began this year’s adventure of responding to Jesus’ invitation to Come and See: the Adventure Awaits, we could not have known that a pandemic of paralyzing proportions awaited us.
But here we are. Almost instantly we are surprised to find ourselves in a most unfamiliar place. Schools are being closed. The stock market is tanking. Jobs are in limbo. And toilet paper is scarce! People are anxious. Fearful. Unsettled about what tomorrow holds.
Implicit in our fears of unwelcome surprises are the fears that God is unaware or unconcerned about what is happening in our lives. Both are wrong.
There are two lessons we do well to remember when dealt an unwelcome surprise in life.
First, there are no surprises to God. He is never caught off guard. There is never a time God is left scratching His chin saying, “I didn’t see that coming!” He is sovereign over all creation. And in His sovereign rule there is nothing we can throw His way that He is not able to handle. When Jesus sought to console His disciples from worrying about the surprise of tomorrow, He did so saying “Your heavenly Father knows.” (Matthew 6:32).
Second, because God is sovereign over all circumstances, we need not fear any surprise that may come our way. Rather, we can face them with the quiet confidence that God has something in it for us. This “something” will be a gift from His kingdom. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). The late Christian author, Henry J.M. Nouwen has written, “Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”
In this time of unrest, may we exude the quiet confidence of faith that comes from knowing that our heavenly Father is aware and He cares. And may we live with the freedom of never being surprised that God is at work in our surprises.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant me joy in life’s surprises by opening my eyes to see you in them.