Why God needs to surprise us

We think about surprises in terms of Christmas presents, birthday parties, and scary encounters.  We love them because they shake us out of our normal habit of being.  We are awakened from brooding introspection or deadening routine.  It’s scary.  And it’s fun.

But God?  What does he have to do with surprise?  Actually everything.

So many of the encounters with God in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament were surprises.  Men and women are shocked out of their daily rut by a call, a conversation, or a sign.  In fact, God is the big surprise.  As fallen creatures, we have a tendency to forgot him or dismiss him.  So when God intersects my own fallen state, I am often surprised.  Here is what happened recently:

I was reading (again!) Lord of the Rings and drawn (again) into the plot.  I was so engrossed that I forgot my problems, my responsibilities, even my sense of self.  I was in the story!  And then I suddenly stopped and pulled out, realizing what was happening.  I had been pulled into another world and connected with it.  It’s why I have loved books for so long, especially good stories.  But I’ve know that before.  That wasn’t the real surprise. What happened next was.

God has been dealing with me for some time about my inner disconnection from people, my inability to empathize.  I have termed it emotional autism.  I hide it well behind feigned attempts.  But it’s there, like an immovable boulder, dragging me down.  “How do I change this, Father?”  I have uttered that on so many occasions.  And a surprising answer came as I was reading.

I realized that my posture with stories is exactly the same posture that I can have with others.  It is an attentive willingness to get outside of my world and inside of theirs, to feel what they feel, to listen to their story.  The emotional mapping is all there with a story.  It’s just seeing the possibility of transfer to relationships.  It was an answer to my prayer that came in a second of revelation.  And a second of surprise.

I think the more we walk with God, the more surprises we are in for.  So watch out tomorrow!

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About Coach D

I have been a teacher and a coach for many years. My real name is Bill Delvaux, but my students call me Coach D, hence the user name. This blog is about the journey into the unknown I am walking and the landmarks I am navigating along the way. The destination: becoming who I really am as a man. I invite you to join me by reading along every Monday and Thursday.
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6 Responses to Why God needs to surprise us

  1. Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

    Great post, brother! “Emotional Autism” is a good metaphor. Let us remember the second greatest commandment when we are tempted to ignore others.

    • Coach D says:

      It is so important, Joe, that we really learn to love others and not just say it. It has been one of the great battles of my life. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. suzanne rhinehardt says:

    I love this one. There is a saying in counseling that you must meet the client where they are in order to help or empower change. When someone has the experience of being understood, they may, for the first time, have the validation and the encouragement to pursue change

    • Coach D says:

      Suzanne,
      You are so right. Simply being heard can enact powerful changes inside of us. I have been such a disconnected man for so long…but all of that is changing. Perhaps because I know that I am being heard by others in my life. Perhaps because I know that I am also being heard by God himself.

  3. Julianna says:

    Thank you for this post, Coach. As I learn more about what it means to have an attitude of hospitality with every personal encounter, this is a great illustration of how to do that.

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