by Judith Couchman
Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we’ll skip and dance all the day long. Psalm 90:4 MSG
I’ve never understood people who don’t like surprises. I’m not referring to the unexpected difficulties that badger and perplex. I mean things like friends yelling “surprise” on your birthday as you enter your door. Or roses unexpectedly arriving for you at the office. Surprises like these remind us that we are loved. They affirm you with splendor.
We receive “big” surprises only now and then. Still, the “little” surprises can impact you more profoundly than grand gestures. A stranger on the elevator whose off-handed words encourage you. A borrowed book that influences your spiritual direction. A hot, home-delivered meal when you are unable to provide it yourself. They demonstrate that not only people care for you, but show God’s care as well. For all good things originate from Him (James 1:17).
Recently I entered a three-month period with no teaching income. I prepared for that season by stocking up food ahead of time. If I couldn’t pay all my bills, I could at least eat. Toward the end of a grocery-shopping trip, I went to the seafood counter to purchase the salmon I had been craving. I picked up a package, read the price, and regretfully dropped it back into the refrigerated case. Too expensive, I thought.
My craving did not diminish over the next few days. Then unexpectedly, my friend Anita, who knew nothing about my unfulfilled desire, wrote to me. “Hey, I’m wondering if you’d like some salmon,” she said. “I bought too much and would like to share it with you.” When she arrived at my apartment, she handed me a bag brimming with produce and, you guessed it, a piece of that coveted fish.
Surprised? More like stunned! That and the fruits and vegetables she brought fed me for two weeks.
Another time, I visited a new friend’s home. A huge arrangement of orchids graced her dining-room table. Their dramatic beauty defined the room. Astonishing, I thought. I wish I could afford to purchase something that dramatic. But extras like that were not in my very limited budget.
A few weeks later, I found myself back in my friend’s home enjoying dinner. The orchid arrangement sat in a corner. After dinner, she asked, “Would anybody like these orchids? I travel too much to keep it in good shape.” Impulsively, I shot booth arms up in the air and cried, “Me! Me! Me!” Now the orchids sit in my living room, basking in the filtered sun it needs.
Did I deserve those gifts? Not really. My thoughts were more along the lines of self-pity rather than contentment. But God surprised me through lovely friends anyway. While living with a reduced income and unanswered prayers, He reassured me of His love. God cares about the little things.
Scripture says God will supply our needs. Paul reminds us, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). We often assume that means our absolute needs, like water, food, and clothing. But He sometimes bestows the small desires of our hearts as well. Even the seemingly insignificant matters to Him, because He delights in His people (Psalm 149:4).
God’s surprises abound. Even when He hasn’t moved mightily in a certain area in your life—at least not yet— don’t miss recognizing the “small” gifts while you’re waiting. He will astonish you.
About the author: Judith Couchman is an author, speaker, and art history professor. She’s traditionally published more than 40 works, including books, Bible studies, and compilations. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Learn more about her at www.judithcouchman.com.
Join the conversation: What has God surprised you with lately?