Little did I know the surprise I was in for as I walked along the ditch bank.
Electronic gadgets were few and far between when I was a boy. Even if they had been prevalent, my parents couldn’t have afforded them or if they could have probably would have chosen not to spend their money on them. They wanted me to use my imagination. So I spent most of my time outdoors, romping through the woods, playing cowboys and Indians, riding my bicycle, and playing ball with the neighborhood kids.
One place where we lived had a deep drainage ditch behind the house. One side was fenced and the other wasn’t. As I walked along the fenced side, enjoying the day, I came face to face with a garter snake. I’ve never been one to fear snakes—as long as I see them first. But this one snuck up on me. Luckily, I grabbed the hog wire fence as I fell backward, which kept me from plummeting into the water-filled ditch. This was one surprise I didn’t appreciate.
The lame beggar Peter and John encountered, on the other hand, enjoyed his surprise. They were going to the Temple for prayer service; he was sitting beside the gate begging for alms. He expected money; they had none. But what they had, they gave. Through the healing power Jesus had given them, they gave the man a surprise: the ability to walk.
Life’s surprises may surprise me, but they never surprise God. Sometimes my reactions to the surprises make it appear I’ve forgotten God sees the beginning, the end, and everything in the middle. He knew the surprise was coming. He sent it or allowed it. Surprises are never outside of His control becasue He is sovereign.
Through life’s surprises, God often gives me more than I ask for. The beggar wanted money but received the ability to do something he’d never done: walk. God loves to give large surprises because His love is large.
I’m also learning to see life’s surprises as God-sent opportunities. Rather than letting the surprises alarm, frighten, or disappoint me, I can learn from them and use them for future service opportunities.
Don’t waste life’s surprises. They may surprise you, but God is working them into His plan for your life.
Tweetable: How do you handle surprises?
Prayer: Father, give us wisdom to trust You by faith when surprises come our way so we’ll know how to appreciate them and use them in Your service.