• Rossendale Circuit

From the Kitchen Window - Surprises

Words by David Hollows

Surprises


One of the surprises of the world of entertainment has been the way in which celebrities have re-invented themselves. For example, Bruce Forsyth had several re-incarnations ranging from the ‘Generation Game’ to ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Others have included Bob Monkhouse, Paul Daniels and Cilla Black who hosted such programmes as ‘Blind Date’ and ‘Surprise, Surprise’ in the 1990s.


There have been many surprises on TV shows especially on programmes such as ‘This is your life’ Perhaps one of the most memorable surprises was during the show, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ when Susan Boyle totally astounded Simon Cowell with her audition version of ‘I dreamed a dream.’


So, what surprises you?

Are you easily surprised?

Do you enjoy being surprised?


Photo by Erik Brolin via Unsplash

Not so long ago there was a craze for surprise birthday events, especially for those birthdays including a 0 Perhaps you have been the subject of one such event. We may know of surprise requests of marriage in the most romantic of settings or a pregnancy may have come as a surprise (or shock, depending on the context)

Surprises are mostly (and hopefully) positive: an unexpected gift or card, a visit of a person you have not seen for a while. You may learn of some surprise news or you have gone on an unexpected holiday or long weekend.

There are the mega surprises in life: a dream holiday, winning a fantastic prize to a media quiz competition you entered or the Lottery.

Other surprises may include an unexpected promotion, a new car or winning a major prize in a charity raffle.

Of course, there are the surprises provided for us by other people; the announcement of a family wedding, a new addition to the family, a visit from a long-lost relative or friend from the other side of the world, a new career or a new place to live.

There are the surprises we encounter in the natural world; wonderful sunsets or sunrises, golden beaches or wonderful waterfalls, magnificent seascapes or mountain ranges, seeing animals in the wild when on safari or even a plant growing in the most unexpected of places. God’s created world often never ceases to surprise us.

On the other hand, there are the rare yet negative surprises: another person we think we know well says or does something completely out of character and this makes us stop and think. There is the surprise of sad or bad news which takes our breath away. There are the surprises we register when we see another person whom we have not met for many years and we note the physical changes to this person’s face or body and we then begin to assess our own situation by comparing or contrasting ourselves with the other person.

Most of us, however, take satisfaction in being able to surprise others, when this occasion gives us a feel-good factor that we have made the day for another person that little bit more special.


The Bible reminds us that God works in surprising ways to make His love known to us and to accomplish His purposes, in the good times and the bad. Through His surprises, God proves His character and nature to us, He demonstrates His intentions for us as individuals and He secures His plan of redemption through His selection of people. God’s surprises are always for a reason.

Noah must have been surprised when God gave him the precise instructions for ark and the people in the locality even more surprised when the rains began (Genesis chapter 6.)

Gideon was so surprised that he challenged God to prove the calling in his life (Judges chapter 6) but for the shepherd boy, David, the surprise as that of the Philistines and the Israelite army when Goliath was defeated (1 Samuel chapter 17.)

The Israelites were surprised when God parted the Red sea for their escape from Egypt (Exodus chapter 14) and the inhabitants of Jericho were extremely surprised when the city walls fell because of the sound of music (Joshua chapter 6.)

There were surprises for characters such as Jonah, Joseph and Abraham and these surprises continued throughout the New Testament for people like Mary and the news given to her by Gabriel (Luke chapter 1.)

Zacchaeus was certainly surprised when Jesus invited Himself for a meal (Luke chapter 19) and there were the many miracle surprises such as the feeding of the thousands or the many healings.

The resurrection of Lazarus (John chapter 11) or the daughter of Jairus (Luke chapter 8) should have prepared the disciples and friends of Jesus for the greatest resurrection of all times but this was not the case, the empty tomb episode reminds us that the women and the disciples were totally surprised at what they found.

God surprises groups of people as well as individuals, Paul is an example of this at his moment of conversion and the way others of faith reacted to him (Acts chapter 9) However, in the book of Ruth we read of the amazing surprises God brings to Naomi and Ruth in this wonderful story of grace and provision, care and purpose. What appeared to the two women as a dead end to life became a doorway to a prosperous future. The story helps us understand that God’s surprises continue so that we can take heart and trust in Him.


So, have you been surprised recently?

More importantly, are you being surprised by our God of surprises?


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash


You may find the following prayer helpful:


Come Lord and surprise us.

Come that we may share the gift of your presence in our lives with others.

Come with healing for our past and calm our memories.

Come with joy and give life to our existence.

Come with hope for the future and a sense of eternity, that all will be well with you.

Come and strengthen our wills and faith.

Come with power to our bodies and minds that we may serve you.

Come with every gift you have stored up for us that we may do your will.

Come and fill us with your love and grace.

Come Lord and surprise us this day.


Amen


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