You're Gonna be Surprised
“Surprise” - the feeling caused by something that is unexpected or unusual (Webster’s Dictionary).
I like and sometimes dislike surprises, particularly when I ask the question, “How much will this cost me?” and the answer is, “You’re gonna be surprised.” I can either like or dislike that response, not knowing which way the cost will go. I like when I am surprised in a good way.
But, the word, surprise, takes on a whole new meaning when I read Jeremiah 29:13-14a. “‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”
I can almost hear God saying to me, “Talk to me, look for Me today and see where you find Me. You’re gonna be surprised.”
I have come to realize that God surprises us. No two sunrises or sunsets are ever the same. Every spring and summer, green pops out of seemingly dead trees and out of the brown, leaf-covered earth; and Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man, arrived on Earth as a baby born to a Virgin. All of these are surprises that take on new and richer meanings every year of my life.
Eating ice cream with friends one night after a movie, someone pointed out a threatening thunder cloud that reflected the sun’s orange glow on the upper third of the cloud. How many clouds have we seen in a lifetime? Yet we are still surprised and in awe when we see God’s creative handiwork in the sky above us!
From a baby’s game of Peek-a-Boo, to children playing Hide and Seek, to adults looking for clues in a murder mystery book, we were created to be curious, or to seek and delight in finding. We love to be surprised, young and old, alike.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote those words from God for us so that we can know what to expect and to understand the relationship we are to have with Him: You will seek me and find me...God’s promise to us is that when we seek Him, we will find Him.
- Call on Him... go to Him as a child asking to see Him in a new way - Matthew 18:3
- Seek Him... fervently search for Him in prayer - James 5:13
- Find Him... expect Him to reveal Himself to you/us in a surprising new way - “I will be found by you.”
In other words, all our searching is a God-given gift to seek Him so that we can have a relationship with Him, through His Son, Jesus.
The last chapter of the book of John, could have been the end of the story but it is surprisingly, the beginning.
Peter had betrayed Jesus before Jesus’ crucifixion; Peter denied ever knowing Jesus. I often think about Peter’s shame, emptiness, loneliness and sense of failure at having lied about his relationship to Jesus out of fear for his own life.
Did Peter cry out to God for another chance? Or did he beat himself up for failing Jesus? I can only imagine how hard it was for Peter to go on after all that took place. Peter, along with six of the other Disciples, went back to their old life of fishing where Jesus surprised them with His appearance.
Peter recognized Jesus’ voice and called out to Him. He jumped out of the boat to go to Him. And Peter found Jesus - in a completely unexpected new way! Jesus assured Peter that what Peter thought was a failure, was part of God’s plan for him. To know of God’s love for him in a whole new way - the God who forgives us 70x7 times, the God of the unexpected love.
Who asks the most questions? Children, who are born with a curiosity. And what did Jesus say about the beginning of a personal relationship with Him?
“Unless you become like children, you will not see the Kingdom of God.” - Matthew 18:3
Jesus asked many questions before He surprised men and women: What do you want me to do for you? (Matthew 20:32) But what about you? Who do you say I am? (Luke 9:20) Do you want to get well? (John 5:6) Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat? (John 6:5) Do you believe in the Son of Man? (John 9:35) Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? (John 11:40) And to Peter, as well as to us, do you truly love me? (John 21:15)
We can take Jesus’ same questions and ask them of Him, but only if you truly want to find Him.
James 5:3 says that a fervent or fiery prayer of a sincere person is powerful. In other words, you must earnestly seek with the intent to find God. Think of how desperately you seek a lost wallet or car keys. You search with the intent on finding. The same fervency brings His unexpected answers to our questions.
- What are Jesus’ questions we can ask?
- What do you want me to do for you, Jesus?
- Will you show me, personally, that you are the one, true God?
- How do I get well? What does healing look like to You, Father?
- Where do I find what I need? Will you provide for my needs?
- How can I really believe in You? How can my faith in You increase?
- How and when do I see Your Glory?
- What does it look like to truly love You, Father?
Call on Him. Seek Him. Ask Him what it is you want to find in Him.
He promises, “I will be found by you”
You’re gonna be surprised.
It will be unexpected, but in a really good way.