Weekly Devotional 052923

It Didn’t Take God By Surprise

by Amy Schmitz Ruiz

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” –Psalm 139:16

Sometimes I love surprises, like when my kids announce that they cleaned their bedroom without being asked or when my husband surprises me with an unexpected dinner out; and of course, birthday or Christmas surprises.

But sometimes surprises aren’t so enjoyable. They can feel like life smashed you over the head with a two-by-four or threw you a huge curve ball that landed painfully in your gut. We might look up with exasperation and a questioning look: Did you see that, God? Why did this happen? Why did You ‘allow’ this to happen?

For most of us, we don’t feel very comfortable with these types of surprises. We may question why God wasn’t looking out on our behalf. In these moments, life doesn’t seem fair…especially when you feel you have done your best to make all the right choices and do the right things.

Over the past couple weeks, I have had several conversations with friends who were experiencing difficult circumstances. I found myself saying in response, “This didn’t take God by surprise!” I didn’t say this flippantly, as if everything should be fine or they shouldn’t be hurting in this challenging time, but rather with a sense of comfort meaning, “If God knew this was going to happen, He has a plan to carry you through it and is working something out.”

God’s Word and His promises can be a great comfort in times of trials. Psalm 139:16 reminds us that God knows everything about our lives: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” And Jeremiah 29:11 confirms that the plans He has for our lives are good: For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Consider John 6:70 as well: “Jesus replied, ‘Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!’” Jesus chose His twelve disciples—even Judas. Did He make a mistake when He chose Judas? Did it leave Him surprised when Judas betrayed Him? No, we see that Jesus not only knew what would happen, but also knew the situation would get far worse as He was led away to begin a torturous death. Ultimately, Jesus submitted to His Heavenly Father’s will.

God had a plan for Jesus, His Son. Nothing took our Father by surprise. God didn’t fail to protect Jesus when He fell into the hands of the men who nailed Him to the cross. It certainly wasn’t an easy journey, but from God’s perspective, He knew how all the pieces of the puzzle would be put together perfectly to complete His plan.

In our lives too, we must remember that the journey is not always easy. Perhaps the journey is rough most of the time because we live in a sinful world. However, we also need to remember that nothing takes God by surprise.

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