Surprises can be fun. Especially if they are successful.
My sweet grandmother was hoping to pull a good surprise on me for Christmas. She made my favorite dessert, a homemade cheesecake. She hoped to see the surprised look on my face when she sent me to the fridge. And I would have been totally surprised, because the amount of effort one cheesecake takes is more energy than she seems to have.
Would have been? Yep.
Because I called her on my way home a few days before we left to see her. And I made my usual joke about her making me a cheesecake. And it got quiet. Really quiet. So I burst out laughing, reminding her I was joking.
And finally she spoke, disdain dripping from her every word. “Who opened her big mouth and blabbed?” And with that one statement, her surprise was blown. And she was mad. It took some convincing to help her realize she – and no one else – had blown her surprise. It was something we were still laughing about when we arrived at her house. (By the way, the cheesecake was delicious!)
God had a surprise too. It was no secret that He loved Israel. But no one expected God to pull off the greatest surprise of all – “For God so loved the world …” (John 3:16). God used Israel through the years to set the stage for His grand reveal. And “when the fullness of the time had come …” (Galatians 4:4), God surprised the world by revealing just how much He loves us.
He displayed it in the person of His Son, who walked in human flesh for 33 years yet had a touch of healing and words of forgiveness that no mere man could possess.
He displayed it in the example of His Son, who showed us what love really is by touching those outcast by society and calling the shameful into service.
He displayed it in the sacrifice of His Son, who willingly suffered physical pain, verbal abuse and untrue accusations, and excruciating death as the last sin offering. Whose arms nailed to the cross showed us how open God was to be in relationship with us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
His love was no longer for just the people of His promise – but now it was available to every man, woman, and child of every nation, every nationality, and every faith.
And now He had to make it known.
So He commissioned the eleven disciples to not keep His love and His sacrifice a secret. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations …” (Matthew 28:19). Everywhere you go, talk about Me. Everyone you talk to, talk about Me. Tell people who I am and what I have done – and help them understand that My grace is for them.
Help them know I love them.
No matter where they have been.
No matter what they have done.
No matter how unworthy they think they are.
And My great hope is they will feel My love, receive My love, and share My love. I hope they will see a glimpse of just how much I love them – I always have, I always do, and I always will.
My love is the start of their new life.
My love is the beginning of their new hope.
My love is the genesis of their new identity.
And My love will continue to surprise them, day after day, as they start to realize just how much power, healing, and possibility is contained within it.
So how will you allow God to surprise you today?
Marie Fremin. 1/6/19 and 7/4/19