This Easter, let’s consider how God surprises us and how surprise leads to gratitude.

On being surprised

In 2 Samuel 7, David wants to build a temple – a house for God. Instead, God tells David through Nathan the prophet that God would build David’s house – he would bless David’s offspring and create a dynasty. David’s son, Solomon, would build the physical temple.

David could have been disappointed that he wasn’t going to build the temple, but instead, he is surprised by the way God orchestrated events for him (2 Samuel 7:18-24)

I love how David says, “Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?” (v.19)

Have you ever been so surprised by God arranging your circumstances that you’ve said, “Lord, is this your usual way of dealing with your people?”

Remember God’s blessings

David never forgets where he came from. He hadn’t been in line to become king, he hadn’t even been the eldest son, yet God has taken him from looking after sheep to being king of his people.

David is amazed that God would bless him like this. He knows it’s only happened because God has chosen him and arranges all his circumstances. Including being kept safe from Saul, so he’s in the right place, at the right time.

I read this quote, “True gratitude registers surprise that God could be so good to us.” David’s response is one of surprise and his surprise leads to gratitude.

Are we surprised? Have we considered how God has intervened in our circumstances? Even if we grew up in a Christian home, God has still drawn us to himself. Do we appreciate how God has been at work in our lives over many, many years?

God provides for us in so many ways. He arranged our salvation by sending a Saviour before we even knew that we needed one. This is amazing in itself. And as if this isn’t enough God guides, strengthens and protects us. He has spoken to us about a future home with him.

We deserve none of this yet God has chosen to lavish us with his many blessings. God is immeasurably good to us. We ought to be surprised and that surprise should lead to gratitude.

Once Again

Whenever I sing this Matt Redman’s song, Once Again (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MwxC9AvwQc ) I’m struck by the wonder of God’s goodness towards us. Every day we have the opportunity to consider God’s graciousness and be surprised.

Are we staggered at the magnitude of the sacrifice that God made for us? Overwhelmed by the love and mercy of God? Surprised by God’s grace?

Do we ever say, “I can’t believe it!”; “I can’t believe that God would be so good to me?”

One of the other thoughts in the song, which strikes me is God’s mercy. God’s mercy transforms us in a way punishments and reprimands never do. Punishments are often an ineffective way of changing behaviour. So many criminals re-offend, often it’s the same children in trouble at school, and often parents repeat the same rebukes to their children.

Yet it’s when we realise that we’re recipients of the most undeserved mercy and grace, we’re amazed, humbled and changed on the inside.

It’s when David experienced God’s forgiveness he wanted to be different. He prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”’ (Psalm 51:10).

That’s the effect mercy is supposed to have on us.

Yet when we read the history of God’s people, particularly in the Old Testament, we find that often they took God’s mercy for granted with little thought to its enormity or its value.

On Jesus’ last night with his disciples, he told them to remember (Luke 22:19).

What do you remember?

I remember Jesus’ sacrificial death and the agony that Jesus suffered on the cross. When I consider the massive price God paid to forgive me and the extravagant gift of God’s mercy and grace, I recognize how surprising it is that God would take responsibility to deal with my sin. And I am grateful.

God surprises me with his lavish, extravagant, generous, care over my life. He surprises me with his attention to detail and his intimate involvement in my life. Surprises teach us to have gratitude and to trust the good things God wants to give us. He gives us hope, happiness, security, purpose, eternal life and even his own Son, so many blessings, so many surprises.

I hope you are surprised and grateful too.

Prayer

This Easter, let’s ask God for a fresh understanding of God’s surprises.

Thank you Lord that you give us so many reasons to be grateful. You are immeasurably good to us yet so often we take you for granted. Give us fresh eyes to see your many blessings in our lives.

Help us Lord, to be open to the ways you may want to surprise us in the future. Convict us when we are tempted to complain and remind us that we are indeed a very blessed people.

In Jesus’ name
Amen

Links from my blogging friends who have also written about Easter:

Surgery for Easter by Steph Penny

It’s Kind of a Big Deal by Karen Brough

A Gift Unnoticed by Tamika Spaulding

The Lord is There by Dienece Darling