I think, perhaps, one of the hardest things of this season of life is the amount of surprise that each day holds.
- Will I get to sleep much tonight?
- Will the kids wake up in a good mood?
- Will we have a major catastrophe at the park?
- Will someone wake up sick or turn sick or get injured or cry all day or want to be constantly held or do little to nothing of what I ask?
Certainly, there are some predictable patterns but it seems there’s at least one moment in everyday where I’m completely caught of guard.
Like that day last week at Chick-Fil-A when Rebekah was screaming at the thought of putting back on her shoes, Brennan was notifying me that he had to go #2 (NOW) and Elaine needed a good burp. Surprise!
Or the moment when we arrived at the park and Carolyn was crying because her foot had fallen asleep and Elaine was crying because she wanted out of that carseat (ten minutes ago) and Rebekah was crying because she just seems to enjoy crying these days and Brennan was crying because I knocked him in the head when unloading the scooter. Surprise!
The moments of catastrophe come and go throughout the day and each time the situation is upended, I struggle to welcome the surprise, take a deep breath and not allow myself to tip over too.
I’m like Jacob on his way to Laban’s–running for cover from Esau and wandering right into a lifetime of unknowns. And then surprise! The one surprise he could not have prepared for-he runs straight into God Himself. With a rock for a pillow he lays down to sleep and God meets Him there. And he says what I have to say at the dawn of each day full of surprises.
“Surely the Lord is in THIS place. And I was not aware of it.” Genesis 28:16
It was the surprise he least expected: to meet God in the middle of this surprising turn of events. But God had been there all along and all along had been just waiting for Jacob to notice.
And I’m no patriarch but those words are mine, too. ’I was not aware of it.’ I can so easily wake and cook and dress and do, preparing myself for whatever unknown the day may hold, and yet forget that the Lord is here, right here, in this place.
This is the surprise that disarms all other surprises. This is the promise that makes all threats of tantrums and public humiliation and diaper explosions and any other unexpected turn of events into an opportunity to turn back to Christ. Because the real surprise is that He’s here-He is in this place.
Just like Jacob, I’m not in need of a predictable day so much as I am in need of awareness and ears to hear just what Jacob heard:
“I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15
Three Prayers to Pray When Surprises Come Your Way
1. “Lord, You Know” He knows when we sit and when we rise, He knows when we go out and we come in. He knows and He knew there would be a surprise for you today. (Psalm 139)
2. “Lord, You See” He is the ‘God Who Sees.’ He is watching you as you watch the surprises unfold and He will watch you all the way through the challenge. (Psalm 33:18)
3. “Lord, You’re Here.” Pray what Jacob prayed, remember that the Lord is in this place. That ladder that Jacob dreamed was Christ Himself and when He made His way down, He promised His presence to all who call on His name-always. ’Lo, I will be with you always, even to the end of all time.’ When the surprise comes, surprise yourself by welcoming Him-’Lord, you’re here with me. Help me be here with you.’
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