Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Best Surprises

What do you think of when you hear the word "surprise?"

Someone jumping out of the bushes at you on Halloween night? A surprise party perhaps. Everyone hides and when the guest arrives they all scream "SURPRISE!"

How about getting engaged? That can be a surprise . . . one way or another. But of all the kinds of surprises there are in the world, what are the absolute best surprises? What makes some surprises better than others?

STEALTH - A surprise party is just not the same if the guest of honor already knows it's going to happen. There has to be an element of "surprise" in order for it to be a surprise. But you know that already. The best surprises are the totally unexpected ones.

DESIRE - The recipient of the surprise has to WANT to receive what they are about to get. An engagement ring, a pay raise, a newlywed couple finding they are expecting. Yay!

LOVE - I think that love must be present for the really GOOD surprises. Again, the engagement ring is a good example.

ETERNITY - Most people who receive these surprises don't want to moment to end. The would like to live in that moment forever, linger in it and soak it in . . . deep.

See if the following example of a surprise doesn't have all four characteristics of an amazingly wonderful surprise.

"11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

16 “Mary!” Jesus said."
- John 20:11-16

I suppose Jesus could have yelled, "Surprise!!" but it wouldn't have had the same meaning as it does with just the single word, "Mary!"

The greatest surprise of all, the resurrection of Jesus, had all three characteristics of a really great surprise - Mary was totally unsuspecting. She desired that Jesus had not died. And Jesus loved Mary enough to reveal Himself to her, first. And His surprise was eternal. The perfect surprise.

This week I received several surprises fitting the description above. The gift of a cupcake on my desk from a dear friend, Facebook messages from a couple former youth group kids who I love, and then I found out my sister is coming to visit this weekend. All wonderful surprises

I think God loves surprises. What makes me think so? Jesus already told us. He has a big one in store.

"42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." - Matthew 24:42-44


Soldiers Coming Home

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