Surprise! Just hearing that word makes us sit up straighter, listen more closely, and look around in expectation. Surprises generally bring great joy. For the most part, even though we might say we don’t like surprise, we secretly delight in surprises.
Remember the 1986 movie, “Hoosier?” Who didn’t like the surprise of the high school basketball team from small town Indiana who won the 1954 state championship? Remember reading “And Then There Were None,” that wonderful book by Agatha Christie? Ten strangers are called together to watch as they die—one at a time—under mysterious circumstance. If you haven’t read it, I won’t tell you the surprise ending. It’s a dilly.
I was surprised five years ago on my birthday. My husband undertook some devious planning and arranged quite a day for me: a trip to Indianapolis for a private shooting lesson for me with a woman instructor, lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, a tour of Chip Ganassi’s factory/museum where we got to watch them tweak Scott Dixon’s Indy Car, and a shopping trip to a gourmet grocery store. When we got home, I was surprised to find that he had arranged for our son and his family to come cook dinner for us. Best birthday ever. Loud guns, fast cars, gourmet food, and someone to cook for me. What a surprising day.
Have you ever been surprised when God answers prayer? You’ve prayed and prayed and then the answers appear right before our eyes and we are surprised! Oh, sure, there are times we don’t think God answers our prayers. Sometimes we blame God for not doing things our way. Maybe He has a better answer. Sometimes we think God doesn’t answer our prayers when what is happening is that God is answering in His time, not ours. Sometimes we pray something so outrageously outside the will of God that He has no intention of answering.
But let’s be honest. There are times when God answers our prayers just the way we prayed He would, and we are surprised. We knew He could answer, we just didn’t think He would.
People have been praying for the end of this nasty virus. We know God could eradicate this pandemic, and I’m sure we’ve all prayed for that. But so far, it’s still going on, and like many of you, I’ve had some doubts.
But here’s the thing. What if God IS controlling the spread of this? What if He planted the “stay at home” idea in the minds of our leaders? What if He caused people to read about how the flu spread so quickly in 1918 and He wants us to learn from history? What if God has protected you and you haven’t realized it because you weren’t looking for His protection? Does that surprise you?
Here’s our challenge: instead of being surprised that God hears our prayers, we should look for His answers. Be amazed by God’s protection, His power, His grace, His love. Let our amazement at His answers lead us to worship Him and praise Him and thank Him.
I know you’ve been praying lately. How has God amazed you?
Verna Davis, speaker and teacher, may be reached at Vrdspeaks@gmail.com.