The God of Surprises

I am a numbers guy. I track everything I possibly can when it comes to Church. I have sheets detailing attendance, offering, and how they are affected by the seasons. More than a few times, I have amazed people by the accuracy of my predictions about certain and days and people.

Occasionally God surprises me. It is one of the things I love and hate about leading a Church. You live never knowing entirely what God is doing and what is going to happen each day.

Yesterday our worship was the perfect example. Usually, according to statistics, our Church attendance drops from the week of Memorial Day until our Vacation Bible School in July. Whatever our average attendance has been for the spring will be reduced by at least 20% for 8-9 weeks in the summer. This is how our Church works, and I have the numbers to prove it. Then yesterday happened.

I stood up to preach and looked out on a full first worship program. This is always exciting and terrifying. As I looked around the room, we had guests, and I had not prepared a guest friendly sermon. Immediately I go into scramble mode in my brain about how to personalize this message for guests. The other thought that runs through my mind is, “Who is left to come to the second program?” Then I walked up for the second sermon and saw another full room. All total, when the day was done, we had a larger group than we had on Christmas. This was the first Sunday in June, and the weather was beautiful.

I tell you all this to illustrate an idea. God is in charge, and you never know when he is going to show up. There are certain times we expect him to do something in our lives. A big conference with great speakers is a great opportunity for God. A weeklong retreat, camp, or event is another wonderful place for him to do a mighty work. We do not expect it on a random day in June.

As a follower of Jesus, I worship a God full of surprises. He nudges me in everyday conversations, speaks to me in the words of a book, and moves me when watching a movie with my wife. People walk into my life that I never expected and do things I never imagined. God works in ways we can never predict. The only thing we can do is live with expectancy, always waiting for his next move.

I don’t imagine anything significant will happen this week. It is a typical week at the beginning of summer. I have little on the schedule, and I know most people are enjoying their summer. And yet … only God knows what is in store for me and you.

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