The Gift of Surprise

My sister reached a milestone birthday yesterday. I won’t tell you which one, but it’s somewhere between 60 and 80 and it begins with a 7. I know, I know, that’s not much of a clue, but she might get upset if I told you what number it was that ends with a 0.

Her daughter planned a “card shower” for her…and let me tell you!…she may need to bake a cake for the postal carrier. It’s not often that he/she has to deliver such a stack of cards to one mailbox, so many that a giant rubber band was needed to keep them from cluttering up a city block.

So I decided to fly in from Colorado to Ohio with our card in tow and hand deliver it to her. The expression on her face was worth the trip, priceless! It’s posted on my Facebook page. The shock, the quivering hands, the realization that she hadn’t combed her hair yet that morning. The gift of surprise is the sugar in our too-often bland lives.

I love my sister, a wonderful lady who is so giving and caring of others, self-less to a tee! To bring her to tears in the rush of the surprise was emotional for me as well.

God blessed us with the gift of surprise. The gospel story, the ultimate encounter of good news, was punctuated with surprise and wonder. The birth narrative, the healings and life transformations, and the reconciliation that the cross of Christ made possible, the surprises of the Lord are beyond our calculations.

Sometimes the way He orchestrates the symphony of our lives is so peace-filled and wondrous. We simply need not worry about our hair or be in a hurry and be in the flow of His spirit.

And now this morning, some would say coincidentally but others would see the care of the Comforter, I’ll be speaking at my sister’s church. Their pastor, a wonderful man of God, called my brother-in-law yesterday as we were enjoying a birthday lunch at Outback, to say that he was ill and he needed my brother-in-law to take care of Sunday’s service. I’ve spoken at the church before and could sense that Pastor Rob would be delighted, even in his sickness, to know that I’d fill in for him. Just another example of the surprises of God. Instead of sitting in the congregation listening to Rob speak and teach on James 5, I’ll be graced with the opportunity to lead the congregation in the discovery and pondering of a miracle of Jesus.

God is good. God is gracious. God is graciously good.

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