I have a love hate relationship with surprises.
On one hand, I love the thought of a surprise. The excitement and anticipation. I love that someone cares enough to plan a surprise for me.
On the other hand, I hate surprises because I’m inpatient, a little nosey and love to be in control. None of those qualities go hand in hand with being surprised.
So, I guess what I’m saying is, I want you to try to surprise me, but fail. When my husband reads this, there is sure to be an eye roll! He hates trying to surprise me because I always ruin it for him. Sorry, babe.
And, if I’m difficult enough to surprise, I have three kids JUST like their mom. Ugh!
Exhibit A: Wyatt Downs. Wyatt just celebrated his birthday two weeks ago, and we were TRYING to surprise him with a gift.
And in my defense, I was doing good until he outsmarted me.
We have an app on our phones called life 360. If you’re a parent of a teenager you know about this app. It’s an app that allows you to see where your family is at all times. I’m sure you see where this is going.
He tracked me by this app to the very store where I picked up his gift and immediately knew what he was getting. As soon as I got home, he was proudly telling me what he did and as much as I wanted to be angry I had to laugh. Little punk, he’s pretty sharp.
As I thought about my struggle with surprises, I thought how I do the same thing with the Lord.
God is a wonderful daddy and full of wonderful gifts and beautiful surprises for his children, but how often do we ruin the gift by our need for control? I can’t speak for you, but for me it’s too often.
I hate to admit this to you, but I’m willing to bet I’ve let God surprise me far fewer times than I’ve tried to take the reins from him and work things out on my own.
Often I treat his gifts, his leading like one of my surprises. I want the journey to surprise me; I want the gift he has for me, but on my terms and my way.
Often I’ve thought about Joseph. God gave Joseph a dream and the gift of being a VIP (very important person), but the journey this gift took him on was not what he thought it to be (Genesis 37-50).
Attempted murder against him, slavery, lies and prison. I wonder if Joseph had known what he would go through to gain this gift of promotion, would he still want it? Would you?
Sometimes where God wants you, the gifts he has for you will lead to pleasant surprises and sometimes it leads to unpleasant surprises.
Whatever happens, it’s important for us to remember that the outcome remains the same.
God has incredible things for us, no doubt. And, whether you love surprises or hate them, they are inevitable. So my question is, how will you respond to them?
Joseph responded with faith in God’s plans, God’s ways. I doubt he enjoyed the process, but because Joseph remained faithful in the process, God blesses him with the promise. The gift. The promotion.
Trust God; trust his timing (and I’m preaching to me here, friend), trust the unknown because you serve a God who knows all and who has the very best in mind for you.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. — Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
Cassie Downs, formerly of the Ellsinore area, is a bible teacher, author, retreat host, founder of Everyday Jesus Ministry, and serves as operations pastor at The Hill Church. A leader full of passion for seeing women follow Jesus and His plan for their lives. She is an avid reader and loves to travel. Cassie lives in Stockton, Mo. with her husband, Dustin and their three children. Connect with Cassie at cassiedowns.com.