June 6, 2012

God’s Surprises

Nothing is more delightful than to be surprised by God. While on holidays, my prayers have been shorter and scattered throughout the day, mostly for the need of the moment. Nevertheless, we’ve been blessed by small things, like finding parking places in downtown areas that were without meters and locating items on our shopping list without any effort. 
The best surprise this week is God’s answer to prayer for our flight home. It had been registered incorrectly by the airline as a round trip to/from the wrong city in another state. We were told in the airport “too bad” and that we had to pay extra for the correction. However, my hubby called on God and then called the booking agency. They corrected the flight and paid all the fees! 

Jesus is full of surprises. When His friend Lazarus died, He took His time going to the family. When He arrived, the dead man’s two sisters were grieving. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” (John 11:21–24) 

Martha had it right; people will rise from the grave when that last day event happens, but she limited God. She soon found out that He can do far more than what we think He will do. At Jesus’ command, Lazarus walked out of his tomb that day, living again right before her astonished and grateful eyes.

The Bible says something about our ideas of what God can do. Instead of limiting Him in any way, we can expect more. As Paul said, God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

Some Bible versions say that He can do “exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or imagine.” I know that I can limit God in my prayers, not only by doubt, but by thinking that I know what He can or will do. Yet I have never second-guessed God. When I pray, I should expect unexpected things, beyond all that I ask or think, above whatever I can suppose or imagine. 

Andrew Murray says of prayer that each time I pray, I ought to be quiet first and worship God in His glory. I should think of what He can do, of how He delights to hear Christ speaking through me, and of the position I have because Christ died for me. Then I should expect great things, even surprises from God. When I do that, I live each day in childlike anticipation, excited that my heavenly Father wants to delight and even astonish me.

God, I love Your surprises and delight in the fact that You delight to surprise Your people. Forgive us for the many times we assume we know what You will do. Help us live in joyful expectation that You will reveal Your power to us in fresh and startling ways -- each time we bring the burdens of our heart to You.

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