No one can explain the things God decides or understand his ways. Romans 11:33b (NCV)
In Isaiah 55:8 we read "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. (NASB) Have you ever been surprised by the way God works things out? Harold was about to receive a one of those surprises, one he never could have imagined - and Harold’s got a great imagination.
As Harold flopped himself down at the table in His grandparents’ kitchen he looked over at his Grandpa Robert and said “I still can’t believe it.” “Believe what?” Robert asked him. “Why Stella would ever do such a thing?” Harold told him “Do what?” Robert asked. “You, know Grandpa.” Harold replied, “Lose Muffy. I would never do anything like that.”
“NEVER?” Robert had to question for he knew what his grandson was like. “I never do anything wrong.” Harold quickly replied. But Robert could only shake his head, “If I were to make a list of all the things you’ve done wrong,” he said, “I would have to buy a semi load of paper.” “Yeah, right.” scoffed Harold, “Next you’ll be saying Stella learned her trick from me.”
After a bit of silence, Robert decided it was time to fill Harold in a few facts about Muffy. “You know, Harold.” he said, “I don’t think Muffy was really lost.” “Of course he was.” Harold reminded his Grandpa, “Stella said so.” “I know,” Robert replied, “But you and Muffy go through the woods a lot and Muffy knew HER way back home.” “I never thought of that.” Harold said with a humph
“Muffy didn’t come back,” Robert continued explaining, “Because SHE had a special reason to stay.” “Grandpa,” Harold interrupted, “Muffy was a HE not a SHE.” “Did I say SHE.” Robert asked with a smile. “Yes you did.” Harold let him know. “Well,” Robert continued, “I said SHE because Muffy was a SHE and SHE didn’t come back because SHE had seven puppies out there in the woods and they all look like her.”
“P-U-P-P-I-E-S!!!” Harold shouted in surprise. “What am I going to do with seven puppies?” “I suppose you could give them away” Robert suggested. “But who would I give them too?”: Harold asked “I can think of several people,” Robert answered, “Starting with your sister.”
“Give one to Stella?” Harold questioned. “She’s hurting too,” Robert answered, “And I think a puppy would cheer her up.” Well,” Harold said after thinking about it for awhile, “I suppose I could and maybe I could give one to Barney and Tracy too.” “I’ll help you.” Robert told him, “Let’s go to the woods and get them.”
Would you say you like surprises? I suppose it might depend on the type of surprise, if it was a dividend or am unexpected bill. Do you suppose Harold was surprised to find out Muffy was a she and had 7 puppies? Do you think Stella will be surprised when Harold gives her a puppy? For good or for bad, surprises are a part of life. When we read the Bible we find many people receiving surprises - Let's look at a few.
The first one I'll look at is found in 2 Samuel 12 and comes int the from of a “I know what you did.” David, although he was called a man after God's own heart, was still human and he sinned by getting another man's wife pregnant and than in an attempt to cover it up he had the woman's husband killed. All seemed to go fine till Nathan showed up. To make a long story short, He had to tell David surprise! God saw everything and you're going to be punished.
Sarah received her surprise in Genesis 18. She was likely minding her own business when three strangers showed up. They must have been important the way her husband treated them and than she heard one of them say she would have a baby. Now having a baby might not be a surprise if your young but Sarah was old – closing in on 90. When she heard she was to have a baby she laughed as if to say no-way. A few months later I'm sure she was surprised to find out she was pregnant.
Peter was a fisherman by trade and in Luke 5 he'd been out fishing all night but had nothing to show for it. Jesus told him to try casting his nets in the water one more time. Not thinking it would do any good he did it any way because Jesus had told him to and was he ever surprised. He caught so many fish his nets began to break and his boat began to sink.
Sitting in a Roman jail with no hope of release, Barabbas was just waiting to be for the day when he was to be killed for the crimes he had committed. But that's not what we read in Matthew 27. Soon the fateful day came or so he thought. Prepared for the worst he must have been greatly surprised when he was told he was to go free and some man named Jesus was to be crucified instead.
It had been three days since she had seen Jesus crucified, three days since His body had been laid in a tomb and sealed in and now, Mary Magdalene wanted to go see the dead body. When she got to the tomb was she in for the surprise of her life. Instead of a dead body in the tomb their were two angels and the man standing outside whom she thought was the gardener was Jesus and He was alive.
As you go looking through the Bible you'll find many more surprises. As you look back on your life you'll find you've been surprised many times and chances are you'll be surprised again.
I think God likes to surprise us and I think He will because His ways are so much better than ours. Isaiah 55:8-9 says The LORD says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (NCV) Because God's ways are not our ways we often find ourselves being surprised and sometimes for good and sometimes for worse. Let's be thankful for God's greatest surprise – the risen Lord.
Here's Something To Ponder
- How has God surprised you?
- How do you react to the surprises in your life?