Our lives are filled with lovely moments of surprise.
An unexpected kindness, an unplanned visit from family or friends you haven’t seen for a while, a bonus in your pay packet, winning a prize — imagine a life without surprises; it would be so ordinary.
We see how God surprises people in the Bible. Can you imagine the wonder of that little boy whose lunch of five loaves and two small fish fed more than 5000 people? And the amazing, life-changing surprise Bartimaeus had when Jesus healed his sight, not to mention the terrifyingly awesome surprise experienced by the shepherds when the multitude of angels appeared to tell them the Saviour had been born?
I think all of them would have been blown away by these surprises and I’m sure they would have talked about these events for the rest of their lives.
God surprised me and few other people at work recently and it was a lovely reminder of how much he loves us and how important we are to him.
It was a cold, wet day in Gympie (Qld). At our Salvation Army corps (church) we were busy; our volunteers were in the kitchen preparing our community lunch, I was in my office and our caseworker was in the office next door talking with a young mum.
As I went about my work I couldn’t help hearing a few words here and there, and two words in particular got my attention — “homeless” and “baby”.
It’s not unusual, unfortunately, for women to present in that situation, but suddenly a light switched on in my brain. Just the previous day I’d received a call from a homeowner offering rooms to rent. I’d promised I would keep my ears open to any possibilities and thanked her for her kindness. I’d written the details on a piece of paper, pinning it on the noticeboard in my office.
The details she gave me were still fresh in my mind — the house was 6km from the centre of the city and on a bus route. Could this help the young mum? I snatched the paper with the information off the noticeboard and went to our caseworker’s office, excused myself for interrupting and gave her the paper and the story behind it.
Our caseworker phoned the homeowner and organised for our client to make contact with her. It seemed to be a perfect match.
And here’s the surprising twist. The home-owner was surprised to discover that we were Salvos based in Gympie because her rooms to rent were in Brisbane. When she’d rung the previous day, she had no idea she was ringing Gympie — she’d rung our number inadvertently! But (surprisingly) the very next day we had a client needing a home, who was more than happy to live in Brisbane.
This young mum said she believed in a God and I believe that God was at work in this situation to remind her that he loved her and he was there for her.
What a surprising God we have; a God who loves to surprise us with good things and who we should never cease to be surprised by.
Clair Smith is a Salvation Army officer serving at Gympie.