I realize that not every surprise is a pleasant experience. Yes, I’ve been on the boat of unpleasant surprises many times…You can ask the boat pilot whose name just happens to be Officer Gotcha A.K.A. Mr. “Can I see your License and Registration, please?” …Anyway, I am not naive to the fact that people may tend to connect surprises with a negative emotion, but I am also aware that surprises can be a wonderful thing.
Sometimes the unexpected is a great way to show someone that they are loved or a great way to feel that you are loved. Here’s what I mean…You know you are loved when:
- You go to work to find a surprise drawing on your computer wallpaper from your daughter that says, “I love you, Mom.” (Happened even with a post-it note this morning)
- Your seven-year-old surprises you with a shoulder massage. ( It was actually a job well done)
- Your co-worker brings to work your favorite dessert just to surprise you (Banana Pudding…. she is so thoughtful)
- You receive an unexpected phone call from your friend who just called to say that you are loved (Makes me miss ’em)
- Your health conscious husband surprises you with Krispy Kreme donuts on a Saturday morning while you sleep in. (Okay, that one didn’t happen.. but it might if he sees that I wrote this)
- Your husband surprises you by cleaning your office while you are in a meeting (that one did happen!)
- You wake up to a surprise of hundreds of plastic forks sticking up in your yard….. (Yes, you read that correctly… My neighbor and her accomplice put Howie Mandel, Allen Funt and Ashton Kutcher to shame)
See, not all surprises beat to a negative drum… some are just great reminders of how much you are loved… Okay, some might beg to differ about the whole fork thing but I’m leaning on the love side of the prank…
I’ve always felt that if those surprise moments were common place then they would mean nothing.
Take for instance the the story of Paul and Silas. Here are these two guys in prison, chained up, praying and singing their hearts out … probably pretty annoying to the non-believers in earshot and the jailer who has to listen while he does his job… but they were singing praises while chained up when all of a sudden an earthquake type event happened… their chains are broken off and they, along with others, are now free. I would imagine that the area was dark, possibly the jailer had a rock bump his head or maybe just in the panic of the situation, he, the jailer, had fail written on his forehead… he was ready to kill himself for slacking on the job and not keeping the prisoners in their places… earthquake or not. Now, Paul and Silas were given the opportunity to flee… to get out of there fast. But instead of running they surprised this man. They, along with the other prisoners were still there. They told him to not harm himself that everyone was still there and they weren’t going anywhere. The jailer was shocked. Their surprise stopped his suicide. Instead of his tragic intention, he was so blown away by their actions that he wanted to know more about who they were singing about. In reality, I guess their surprise showed so much love that he was changed then and there. He had Paul and Silas come to his home and he became a follower of Christ. Had this guard been used to seeing prisoners who had the opportunity to flee and didn’t……if this had been normal behavior that Paul and Silas had shown then their actions would have meant nothing.
Just like my family… if they did all of those things mentioned above on a daily basis then I would probably soon forget the importance of what they were trying to show me. Maybe it is not so bad to surprise others…
I think I know who my surprise “victim” will be today ….and I won’t even use forks.
Who needs a surprise from you today?
Acts 16: 22-40
22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.
35When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”
37But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”
38The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.