Read: Romans 11:33-36; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 22:1-6
What makes a surprise good? Why are some surprises unwanted while others become treasured memories? There are many factors, but what if to begin today's thoughts we merely mention a few.
1. The best surprises come out of someone's heart of love. They aren't given out of obligation or birthed out of induced guilt.
2. The best surprises are given with the recipient in mind. The one being surprised is known, and what would please her is uppermost in the mind of the one planning the surprise. For example. Some people wilt in crowds; so, a special surprise would take this knowledge into account and build the surprise around a limited number of people.
This week, I read about Lee Wilson, a man who surprised his wife out of a heart of love and with knowledge of what would please her, and Renee Wilson said he made her feel very special. Lee and Renee Wilson were high school sweethearts, and they are celebrating their 50th anniversary this month. Lee Wilson said he thought it through. What would be a gift for Renee that he could give her to celebrate this special anniversary. Acres of sunflowers. A flower Renee really loved. That was his idea; so, he would plant Renee 80 acres of sunflowers, and they would be blooming on their special day. So, with the help of his son, Wilson planted 1.2 million sunflower plants in May. What a surprise for Renee to receive this special hand-planted unexpected gift.
When I read a story like this, I think that God must have built us with the desire to surprise others, and I think of the surprising things He has done. The people He has used in His plan whose resumes don't qualify them for greatness. The flawed individuals whose weaknesses didn't stop God from doing mighty works through them. Look at Gideon and Moses. Two reluctant men whom God raised up to bring victory to His people, Exodus 3:1-21; Judges 6:11-27.
Even Christmas is filled with surprises. A virgin who gives birth to the King of Kings having never been with a man, Isaiah 7:14. God actually becoming man, John 1:14. Surprising, and He did it out of a heart of love, knowing us that we could not be saved any other way but through not only His birth but also His atoning death, Galatians 2:21. What a surprise.
We're just scratching the surface here. The bible is filled with true accounts of surprising things like Peter being sent out by Jesus to catch a fish which had a coin in its mouth. Enough to pay Jesus' and Peter's taxes, Matthew 17:24-27. What a surprise for Peter to have the fun of doing something he enjoyed and catching a special fish which was there just for him.
Then Jesus surprised some of His men in John 21. Imagine their joy as they saw Him by a charcoal fire with fish and bread to share. So unlikely to see the Risen Lord waiting there to eat with them, John 21:1-14.
But the Biblical accounts are merely the beginning of surprises that God has in store. What we read and even what we experience, as sweet is it sometimes is, is only a foretaste of what is to come. If you will, the appetizer before the never-ending feast. There are times when we long for these surprises more deeply than at others. May I explain?
Many of us have been talking about heaven lately. Many of our church family have been suffering with a variety of painful circumstances, and we have been reminding ourselves that there is great joy that awaits us in heaven. May I add the word surprises? If God has built into people the joy of sharing special surprises with others, how many wonders does He have in store for His people, 1 Corinthians 2:9.
After all, Jesus told us that He was going to prepare a place for us and that we should not allow ourselves to be troubled, John 14:1-3. The One Who fashioned Eden is the One Who is the architect of all we will enjoy. Imagine it. What might the One Who knows all about us, Psalm 139:1-6 have prepared for us? What surprises will the Lord make known to us throughout the ages to come??
Back to the story of Lee Wilson's surprise gift. Mr. Wilson says he won't do it again. It was a one-time surprise. That is understandable. Imagine the work that was involved in planting 1.2 million sunflowers. How different it is with God. What He will give to us is limitless. As I write that, I realize I can't really comprehend it, but the Lord God Almighty will never stop making His wonders known to His children. A comment that was received after a lady saw Lee Wilson's gift to his wife. She lamented that she can't even get her husband to answer a text.
That reminds me that the surprises that we each receive here on earth aren't all equal. This earth is not a place of fairness; however, someday, the Lord will not only wipe away all tears, He will make everything new, Revelation 21:1-6. He has surprises waiting for those whose lives have held little joy, but someone might ask what must someone do to be doing the works of God? Perhaps, that is the biggest surprise of all.
One day, Jesus was asked that very question, John 6:28-29. His answer? Believe in Him. It means to rely on Him wholly for the forgiveness of sin. There is nothing we can add to what He has done. We need only to give the Savior our sin, guilt and shame and receive His righteousness, 2 Corinthians 5:21. Now that's a surprise!
Jesus has done it all. We need only to receive Him, John 1:12-13.