It seems like some life pages have a theme woven through them. Other pages appear to be a random collection of events — at least until you can look back on the entire story. The practice of writing out a page for each day has at times helped me to see the bigger picture of the story. Today’s page had its usual work tasks along with a variety of surprises. Not bad surprises which sometimes have a way of showing up, but just unexpected things that kept me from setting cruise control for the day.
These are usually productive surprises because they require I stay focused and pay attention rather than go through the day on automatic pilot. After the morning cleaning and building prep, I had some good ministry discussions that had not been planned by anyone but God. As the day went along, I continued work on the next week’s worth of daily devotions for the series I am writing. Each devotion that I worked on focused on a different aspect of how God wants us to serve with excellence. As I wrote questions and devotional thoughts for each day, I thought about how easy it is to coast, even as we serve, if we are not focused on serving in all ways with excellence as if we are serving God Himself — because we are!
Following a late afternoon dentist appointment I headed to the river with my family for a 3 mile walk along the beautiful riverwalk path in Mishawaka, Indiana. In keeping with the “hidden” theme of the day, my eye and then my camera would notice things that the crowds appeared to be walking right by with no idea of what was near. The beauty of some early crocus breaking through the ground with a vibrant yellow blossom about to open. A dove quietly perched in a tree. A raccoon peering out from a hollowed area of a tree. All were reminders of God’s creativity and the beauty He surrounds us with daily if we were to pay attention.
As I reflect on the day, I realize once again that nothing catches God by surprise. I may experience surprises that are both good and bad, but He already knows how they can be used to benefit the kingdom and my growth. The pleasant surprised remind me of God’s love and how He wants to bless my life in ways that allow Him to be seen more clearly. The unpleasant surprises are reminders of God’s care as He continually carries me through the heartaches and disappointments in ways that all Him to be seen more clearly. Either way, His goal and purpose is for me to live in such a way that people will see my good works and glorify my Father who is in heaven. The surprises make me look to Him when my focus begins to drift away from the One who calls me to Himself as His child.
I pray that you and I pay attention to the surprises of life regardless of whether they are of a nature we like. I pray that we would turn to God in the midst of life’s surprises so that He is seen in the way we live through them. I pray that we would pay more attention to the lessons God desires for us to learn each day.