God is into surprises. Really into them. He thinks they’re fun.
He wants me to think they’re fun too, but to be honest, I’m not always on the same page with Him about it. Sometimes I get cranky when I ask Him what’s going to happen about this or that and He says, It’s a surprise!
Anybody who thinks He doesn’t say that has never read the Bible. It’s full of surprises front to back. It tells about a God who says things like, Leave your country and your father’s house and go to a land that I will show you (Gen. 12:1).
“Uhhh…Lord, what land would that be? The post office at Ur needs a forwarding address.”
I’ll tell you when you get there. It’s a surprise.
Abraham knew about surprises. So did Moses. After chasing sheep on the backside of the desert for 40 years wondering whatever possessed him to act like a slave-saving, Hebrew superhero and murder an Egyptian, Moses was surprised…by a burning bush.
Joseph in prison was surprised by a call from Pharaoh’s palace.
A bunch of angels shocked the socks off the shepherds on the hillside by shouting out a 4,000 year old secret. “Surprise! Unto you a child is born in the city of David…”
There’s just no denying it. The element of surprise is a standard part of God’s M.O.
I’m not saying, of course, that we never know what God is going to do. We do. We know that He will keep His Word. We know that He will fulfill His promises. We know that if we trust Him, He will bless us and give us the desires of our heart.
But as we’ve all discovered, He often likes to do those things in ways that surprise us. He likes to wrap in mystery the details of what He has in store for us so that we can dance around them in faith, like children discovering packages under the Christmas tree, exclaiming, “What is it? What is it?
Sometimes, like today, I spend my whole prayer time just that way—praying about the surprises. Or, as the apostle Paul said it, praying about the “mysteries.”
I press past my cranky, carnal compulsion to stomp my foot and demand to know everything about my future (right now, please!) and I take that future like a wondrous present from my Father’s hand. Then I thank Him for it. I exult over it. Chattering on and on to Him about it in the language of the Spirit, I wrap my arms around it with joyful curiosity to see how big it is. I put my ear to it to see if it makes any noise. I lift it to test its weight.
“Is it good?” I ask, knowing already that it is.
Oh, yes, He says with nod and wink. Very, very good. You’ll love it.
“Is it what I hoped for? What I asked for? What I imagined?”
Exceedingly abundantly above what you can ask or think.
“Can I pray about it some more?” I ask.
As much as you want…but just in mysteries for now because I want it to be a surprise.
If you’ve never prayed that way, I highly recommend it. It’s not only great fun; it’s a great way to partner with the Holy Spirit and pray out the thrilling details of your future. It’s a way to celebrate today the wonderful things God has hidden in your tomorrows…without spoiling the surprise.