The end game: When I scan the biblical story, I can’t help concluding that following Jesus brings a life of surprises. Whatever plans God makes and however I’ve tried to figure out God’s plans, I’m constantly greeted with surprises.
Here’s my take: I face turns in the story that I never would have anticipated. God’s plan again and again included things that would not have been included in the story if I had been doing the planning.
The bottom line: One of the reasons for this is that I tend to focus on outcomes. I simply want things to go well and turn out right. God surely does care about the end of all things, but he is graciously at work in the process as well. Jesus is my Master (Owner). His decisions surprise me.
- God’s actions surprise people — Surprise at the sudden appearance of angels I am ready to see angels. I could stand a few good surprises. Have I seen angels and just didn’t know it?
- Luke 1:11–12 — And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.
- Daniel 8:16–17 — And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.” So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.”
- Luke 1:28–29 — And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
- Luke 2:9 — And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
- Acts 10:3–4 — About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!” And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.