As we settle into life, we can quickly begin to live a life of familiarity. Expecting plans to go well within our control. However, God uses us and often surprises us with His gift of grace.
The Surprise of God’s Grace in a Season of Familiarity
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”—1 Corinthians 2:9
The family lineage of Christ, the calling of Abram, the rise of David to be King, Joseph, and the coat of many colors – each a classic Bible story!
Growing up, I remember sitting in circle time at church, intently listening to my Sunday school teachers recite unfamiliar scriptures in a familiar and understandable way. They told each story in a fun and playful manner.
Using old worn-out smocks, funny-looking shoes, rustic walking canes, and brightly colored candy to draw our attention. The sweet-tasting treats were a delight to our lips, while the costumes gave way to our imaginations. Each of these well-planned messages about the Bible grew our desire to know more about God.
While they may not have known it, our teacher’s words proved their grasp of the movement of God. And, in the middle of their teachings, an unexpected surprise happened.
One child stood up and decided to follow Christ that Sunday morning. He came in with his friends through an invitation and left, inviting Christ into His heart!
I remember clapping and cheering for joy! It was an exciting day. Who would have thought a first-time visitor would go all in for Christ?
Jesus will transform your life
This little boy who accepted Christ knew a church meet-up would be fun because his friend told him so. But on this Sunday, he was greeted by other children and teachers who made him feel welcome. During the morning Bible lesson, he met Jesus in a different way and it made him look at life differently.
This year, as we enter a season of familiarity, I ask God to shift our perspectives of what we know and ask Him to surprise us.
He can do it as He has done it before.
- God sent an angel to announce the birth of Christ to shepherds in a field – Surprising them!
- Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes. – Surprising the disciples!
- God instructed Joshua with an unusual strategy for the battle of Jericho. Through a loud roar of cheers, walls fell. – Surprising those inside the walls!
- Christ rose from the dead after three days – Surprising many even though it was prophesied!
Nearly every time I read scripture, I’m floored by God and how He thinks, acts, and speaks. His surprises are seemingly new revelations to us. What I do know is Christ is the “mystery” that has been revealed to those who believe (Colossians 1:27). We would never be able to comprehend the way to having eternal life without the ministry of Jesus.
Though we often assume we understand God’s plan. We tend to focus on future outcomes by weighing out what we can control. But when His plans are not what we thought, we then rush to conclusions, becoming quick to anger, and push away from God’s opened arms.
We should not gripe or have apprehension when God calls us to assignments that seem far beyond our gift and abilities – BECAUSE SURPRISE – His measures are not our measures.
God graciously cares for us. Though we may see it as life falling apart, God sees it as putting it all together.
He makes no mistakes in His holdings. His wisdom never falters. His righteous hand can carry the weight of all our burdens with ease. Though some of the stories of the Bible may seem unfamiliar, we are surrounded by the possibilities that only our Heavenly Father can see.
We are part of a royal priesthood
The grace of God will continually surprise us and when He does, don’t doubt His goodness, faithfulness, or love. Just like Esther, who found favor with King Xerses, she became the Queen and saved her people (Jews) from destruction. We too were made for such a time as this.
Though a stately career path may not be in our future. We have been given a royal promise as heirs to the one true king: eternal life!
When we believe our assumptions are true, they can lead us into the muddy waters of instability. But when we are obedient and trust in God’s plans for our life, His rivers of living water (John 7:38) will flow within us and will create stability.
Regardless of our sparse résumés, God’s knowledge is far greater than our comprehension. Though it may always seem like a surprise, God is using you, and it is not a coincidence.
“The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.”– Psalm 33:11
Let’s pray together,
Thank you for your provision of grace. A grace so loving that it presents us with all the space we need. May your surprises bless our assumptions, our doubts, and our worries. Allow us to lock eyes on you. Teach us to shift our perspectives and find you in a new and unfamiliar way. Stir a passion in our hearts to desire you more every day.
In all this, we ask, in your precious name – Amen!
Read More on Jen Schreiner
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- Why Being Perfect Will Never Satisfy
- Trusting in God’s Strength Instead of Your Own
- Your Pain Has a Greater Purpose
- Trusting God Through Disappointment