I hate surprises.
I don’t like them at all. I hate surprise birthday parties. I don’t like being surprised at Christmas and most assuredly I hate situations when I don’t know what is going to happen. I like a plan and I try my best to know the outcome of whatever I am a part of.
Of course I have had to adapt because there is no way I can control every aspect of life. Life throws you curves and unexpected things. There are forks in the road and decisions that take place everyday in our life that will result in a “surprise”. There is no doubt that God allows these curves and unexpected things in life to take place. They are not surprises to Him.
God is full of surprises. Many times we expect Him to do one thing, and He does another. We anticipate His movement in one direction, but often it is in another. Sometimes we trust Him to handle something immediately, and He waits and it seems to take forever. Then other times we anticipate waiting for a long time, and almost overnight He has solved what appeared to be the impossible.
Over the course of the past few weeks, I have been surprised by the events that have affected my life. I have had to be “surprised” on two different occasions, when I have had to deal with people I looked up to had passed away. Similar to 2009, when a few of my closest friends died, 2016 has started off going down a path that I hope doesn’t continue.
I thought about it and my thoughts wandered to all the surprises that I have had in recent days. They were events that I did not see coming. I guess that living my life without the expectation of events that turn into surprises is part of my problem. I need to understand that God has prepared the “surprise” long before the day of the event. Again, God does not call them surprises, and make no mistake He has prepared them for all of us.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9
We live in the potential of a surprise from God all the time. We just live our life without really considering the things that could happen. I believe that is how we should live our life. We cannot live in fear of the future. We cannot be paralyzed by the surprises of life. Of course, it will challenge our faith and our trust in Him and its human nature to question and to wonder why God would allow certain things to happen. When God surprises us with an opportunity, our first reaction is to view it from the perspective of our own sufficiency. We fear the unknown, we fear the loss and we fear the uncertainty.
What gives us the most hope every day is God’s grace. We know that God is going to give us enough grace and strength to get through anything we am going through. None of this is a surprise to God and if we trust Him to forgive us of our sins and our past, we must then be willing to allow Him to guide our future. Even if that includes a few future surprises that we don’t like.
With every surprise and opportunity God also brings answers for our fears, objections, and defenses. His answers in every instance point to Himself and His own sufficiency to meet our every need.
I believe that there are five promises God’s answers for us when we are subject to the surprises that we have to face:
1. His Plan. There is a sovereign purpose and plan for everything including our lives. He planned the events with us in mind. What we consider surprises in life are not surprises to God. They are part of His plan for His ultimate glory and we are a meaningful part of His plan. There was a reason for it happening.
2. His Presence. We are not alone as we participate in fulfilling God’s plan. Many times we allow ourselves to be alienated from Him when we go through the bad surprises of life. He hasn’t forsaken us. He’s there and knowing He is always with us brings peace amid tumultuous times and comfort amid challenging days.
3. His Provision. God designed us so He knows exactly what we need. God is sufficient not just for comfort but for all our needs in every situation He surprises us with.
4. His Power. Our weakness is not a defense against doing what God asks. We are told to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. And when His power is at work through us His plan and purpose will be fulfilled.
5. His Promise. God has promised to never leave nor forsake us. He will be there… always.
The next time God surprises us with an opportunity, a challenge, or a change in life, we need to take a moment to pause before we get into defense mode. We need to think about who we are focusing on—ourselves and our limitations, or God and His unlimited sufficiency.
Knowing He is sufficient in every way we will begin to accept these surprises with more grace. We read in God’s word,
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” Proverbs 19:21.
We may make our own plans, set our own course and directions for our lives, and soon discover that it is God’s purpose that will prevail.
For me, I have had a week of trying to put all of this in perspective. I have come to accept that there was nothing anyone could do to change what happened. We like to think we could have changed God’s mind or influenced the end result. The bottom line is that many of our prayers are opportunities for us to accept that which is His will and not change the outcome of what was planned by God himself.
Living life when God surprises you can be difficult. It challenges our faith and our confidence. At the end of these surprises, we may not understand it completely but God will still make sure that things turn out for our good and His glory.
Hold on. Stay Strong.
God loves to do the things that we have absolutely no power over, and that’s the way He has planned it for our lives.