Hawkeye Seventh-day Adventist® Church

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1

Good Surprises and Bad surprises!


Don't you love a good surprise? Notice I said a good surprise! I am pretty sure no one​appreciates a surprise that is not a good surprise! I dread those kinds of surprises! In fact I often procrastinate on opening mail that I think might be a bill--not a good surprise at all if we have been procrastinating paying it on time. That only makes it grow bigger with more dread!  Surprises are the stuff of life, many times unwelcome. If you walk in step with God, you will find that he can surprise you, but he will not disappoint you.


​This week I received a surprise in the way of a phone call! This phone call was unexpected! But the reason for the call was even more unexpected! And it definitely classified as a good surprise!  It was to let us know that we are going to have more people to plan on for our Thanksgiving dinner! If you think that we said that we needed more time to plan, you would be wrong! We are overjoyed about our surprise! Our surprise included even more surprises. Along with the news of the coming home surprise, we received the news that I didn't need to plan a meal plan that included more people. They wanted to prepare all of the meals for me while they are here! What a wonderful blessing, what a wonderful surprise! I have even more to be thankful for during this year's Thanksgiving season. I like to think that God looks forward to us calling (praying) to tell Him that we are ready to come home to Heaven, to not just visit Him for a bit but to move home to be with Him forever. I am sure that I will be surprised during the welcome home party He is preparing for us.


Many schools have "Homecoming" week during the fall. In promoting school spirit many group activities are planned to encourage that "Spirit!" Recently one school had an "anything but a backpack" day. School kids like to carry their things with them--in a backpack! You need your books and perhaps a computer or tablet. You need notebooks and water bottles and perhaps even more! You need a backpack to keep everything corralled. So if the school schedules an "anything but a backpack" day, you have to get creative. As I viewed pictures of this day at one school, the students' creativity was fun to see. One student put his things in a large mixing bowl on wheels from a school kitchen. Another used a large rolling luggage suitcase. I saw a large cooking pot with handles--that certainly wasn't a backpack! A girl had "borrowed" a Wal-Mart shopping basket to carry her things. There was a canvas laundry cart on wheels, a bag made of a blue tarp, a plastic basket tub from the dollar store, a mop bucket, a woven basket, an "expanded" computer bag, a plastic sorting bin... So much creativity! But the one that surprised me the most was a young man who found a high four legged stool with several supporting rungs around the sides and a swivel seat. When he turned it upside down, it became his "anything but a backpack" turntable"! The student had filled it full with his books and notebooks, pencil pouch and water bottle. He could see everything and reach everything, though placing it on his desk didn't leave much room for any work to be done. Still, he appeared to be quite pleased with his choice for the day.


I need a backpack! I have been having trouble getting things up to our second floor or getting something that I need from upstairs down to our first floor! Since I need 2 hands to use the railings when I go up and down, that leaves me no way to carry them. Sometimes I wait for help, sometimes I toss them down ahead of me, sometimes I move them down a few steps at a time by turning and reaching behind me to reach them. Sometimes I don't count my steps right and then I find them almost out of reach. So, yes I need a backpack but an "anything but a backpack" day would be even harder for me! Those kids had surprising solutions. They were very innovative! Especially the stool kid!


God asks us to work for Him. We have to be innovative to accomplish it. We can't always do it as we have done before. The old ways don't always work the same. We have to try a new way to share the good news that Jesus wants us to share! A surprising new way! Surprises are the stuff of life, many times unwelcome. But if you walk in step with God, you will find that he can surprise you, but he will not disappoint you.


SURPRISE is a theme in our Bibles. 

  Luke 1:64 ​is surprise after surprise​—Asking for a tablet, Zachariah wrote, "His name is to be John." That took everyone by surprise. Surprise followed surprise​—Zachariah's mouth was now open, his tongue loose, and he was talking, praising God!
​The Bible say​s surprises ​are coming! We can expect that He will surprise us for our good and for His glory. “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
​The Bible says ​things about not being surprised. 1 Peter 4:12-19 (ESV)​--Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 

​There are pleasant surprise​s in the Bible​—These are aptly described as surprise visits,​like Mary's visit to cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-44). There are other pleasant surprises, like when Abraham and Sarah were told at a very old age that their child of promise was about to come (Genesis 18:9-14). This announcement was so great and seemingly impossible that Sarah laughed in disbelief; yet, it was a pleasant surprise when God gave her the son He had promised (Genesis 21:6-7). There are also unpleasant surprises, such as when you are betrayed by someone very close to you, like Absalom did to David, his loving father (2 Samuel 15:6-14).​ 


The disciples of Jesus Christ experienced pleasant surprises at a time when they thought all hope was lost for them. This is evident from the encounter two of them had on the road to Emmaus. As they journeyed, they spent their time lamenting their shattered hope about Jesus. In Luke 24:21 they said:​ “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.”​ 
Meanwhile, a great and pleasant surprise had taken place in Jerusalem where they were coming from, which they could not believe. Though they had been told of Christ's resurrection before they embarked on the trip to Emmaus, they were still full of unbelief. The story seemed too good to be true! This is one of the characteristics of pleasant surprises occasioned by miracles. When the early visitors to the tomb of Jesus were greeted with the news of His resurrection, they experienced this type of pleasant surprise. Matthew 28:8 captures their emotions in these words:​ “And they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.”

As if that was not enough, those who took the news of the resurrection to the others had not finished speaking when the Master Himself appeared to them all to confirm the news (Luke 24:36)!  It is so pleasant to experience the impossible becoming possible in one’s life. ​Pleasant surprises are coming your way ​from Jesus.​ Wait for them, expect something good to come. All you need to do is to identify with the Great Miracle Worker, and He will work things out that will give you pleasant surprises in Jesus’ Name.​ Perhaps pray—Father, do a new thing that will bring pleasant surprises to my life today in Jesus’ Name. 

I’ve enjoyed reading some thoughts I found on the internet about surprises from God.

Nothing Surprises God! The Bible says that even before you were born, God knew all of your future: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16 NIV). From his perspective, God can see past, present, and future all at once. That should give us great confidence in God. It’s comforting to me that he knows everything that is going to happen in my life. He not only knows about the future, he’s also there in the future. He not only walks with us day by day, he can also walk in our future. God is already prepared for everything you’re going to face tomorrow, next week, and next month. What the future holds may surprise me, but it doesn’t surprise God. Nothing ever catches him by surprise or makes him say, “Oh, really?”  Next month or next year, you may be faced with a crisis, and you may ask, “What’s happening? Where is God?” God’s been there all along, preparing. He’s already in your future, and he’s prepared for everything.

If God knows all my tomorrows today, then I should ask him for advice. He knows what’s going to happen: “Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own” (Jeremiah 33:3 The Message). The things you don’t know, God can tell you about. He’s not going to lay out your whole life all at once, telling you everything that will happen. If he did, you’d likely get deeply discouraged or prideful—or both. Instead, he gives it to you a little bit at a time.  God knows everything about your faults and failures and your feelings and frustrations, and he also knows what your tomorrow holds. He knows your future. The Bible says that even before you were born, God knew all of your future: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16 NIV).

A suggestion—When you get up in the morning, go over your schedule with the Lord. Pray, “Father, you’ve already seen this day that I’m about to experience. You know ahead of time every surprise and interruption I’m going to face, every crisis, every flat tire, every missed plane, every hurt, even when I’m going to spill my drink. You’ve already seen it all. Would you please give me the strength that I need for today's surprises?”

God knows exactly what you need because he’s already seen what you’re going to face. And he will provide for you.       


With God, surprises are good!

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