Surprise! I am not a fan of surprises. Absolutely no. Clarification. I am not a fan of surprises that are not good. In other words, I only like favorable, wanted, and pleasant surprises that work for me. Otherwise, I'll pass. No thanks. I'm not too fond of the feeling of being unprepared. I like to predict and curate how I respond. I don't want to be caught off guard. Yes, I have control issues. But as I dig deeper, I think my "need" to control stems from fear. I don't like unpredictable circumstances. I don't do well with awkwardness. And I don't particularly navigate uncomfortable situations with grace or poise. However, I'm learning life is one big surprise! So if I want the good from the unexpected, I must also be willing to accept and embrace everything in between.
In my quest to insulate myself from discomfort or pain, and avoidance of situations or taking risks that could possibly subject myself to hard things, could I possibly be disadvantaging myself and doing the opposite? Perhaps I'm hindering and shortchanging myself from receiving beautiful things - that are disguised. What if surprises help to enlarge our view of God, and our capacity? What if surprises are actually really good for us - our growth, faith and maturity? What if surprises help strengthen me - to navigate life with wisdom.
As we reflect upon Holy Week, I can't imagine what may have been going through the first Christians' minds. Talk about a whirlwind of emotions. We have the benefit of post-resurrection Christians - we know how the story ends. However, during the days Jesus walked the earth, the disciples lived out in real-time one surprise after another. They experienced the unexpected, shock, disbelief, heartache, tragedy, trauma, disappointment, grief, anxiety, anguish, uncertainty, instability, death, and for some, a sense of hopelessness or loss of direction and purpose. But yet they hung on to their faith by every spoken word Jesus ever said. They persevered because Jesus speaks a better word than any circumstance, situation, or uncertainty we may face. While we may be shocked or surprised by people or a problem, God is never caught by surprise. Therefore, our hearts can rest and be assured because He cares for us; whatever comes our way, we're going to be okay. We'll come out better on the other side if we view all things in light of knowing Jesus.
Well, do I like surprises now? No, not really. But I'm okay with them and am embracing the mystery and wonder that comes with surprises. Because you never know that initial surprise on the onset may have looked like death, a detour, or a closed door, but maybe that surprise was the primer to an ultimate surprise - resurrection and new life!
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