The God of Surprises

The God of Surprises

If you read the Bible, one of the things I think you’ll find is that God is the God of surprises. Go back in time, or really, even before time. When God first created the universe (including time itself) that was a surprise, but not to Him! And imagine the astonishment in the face of every living creature when it was called into being.

Adam was in awe when God made Eve, the perfect companion for him. Noah wondered when he was told to build an ark.  Abraham was stupefied when God spoke to him and said to leave family and native country and go to a place God would show him. Moses was incredulous when God spoke to him out of the burning bush, and he was shocked and afraid when God gave him the job of announcing freedom to His captive people.

Samuel was astounded when God selected none of the sons of Jesse who were present as the next King of Israel but instead demanded that everyone remain standing until the boy with peach fuzz cheeks tending the sheep could be brought in to be anointed the next king. That boy, David, was amazed when he was anointed king, and he was probably bewildered when God make it clear that he would have to wait for many years to actually become the king while he would need to show fealty to the current king, Saul.

Jeremiah was so shocked when God called him to be a prophet that he said, “Lord I am only a youth,” but I suspect he was might have been even more awestruck by what God had said first, “I knew you in the womb.”

Mary was probably younger than Jeremiah when God told her she was to give birth to His Son. She resisted, then marveled, at this news and had questions for the Lord. 
Imagine the initial amazement of those who came to believe that a carpenter’s son from Galilee was also the Son of God and that death on a cross was God’s plan to save the world. Paul believed the people who believed that were blasphemers and heretics, and he persecuted them until he was thunderstruck, and struck to the ground, when the Ascended Jesus spoke to him from heaven, later showing him that he, Paul, had also been known by God in his own mother’s womb.

God is still the God of surprises in our lives too.

Whom we marry is quite often a surprise. What we end up doing for a living can be not what we expected, as can be where we end up living. As we look back, how our whole lives turned out, it is often a marvel.  Take this test: compare your life now with how you thought it would be when you were nine, or nineteen, or twenty-nine. You could never have imagined….

In a similar way, to many of us it came as a wonder and even as a shock when we first really comprehended how much God loved us. We were incredulous that His Son would die for us.  We were amazed that He wanted to cleanse us of our sins and have an eternal relationship with us based not on our achievements but on His sheer mercy and grace.

To this day, we still experience wonderment at the many ways in which He daily turns the water in our lives into wine.

Winfield Casey Jones is a retired pastor and can be reached at This column first appears in the Pearland and Friendswood Reporter News.


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