I am constantly surprised by God!
Yes, I know this is a good thing, I should be surprised by His grace, mercy, love, forgiveness and acceptance. We see His promises in scripture, we hear them in sermons and prayers, we may even talk about them with people around us.
Those of us who have been Christians for a while, probably know all of this as head knowledge, but sometimes we get caught up in life, and find ourselves a little bit distracted and may find it difficult to really feel and know these things in our heart, or to comprehend that God’s promises are for everyone, yes even you!
I sometimes find myself knowing Gods promises but struggling to live as someone who knows I am included in Gods everyone! This is when God surprises me and then my head knowledge is surprised that I am surprised by God (I know it all sounds a bit muddily, I am sure I am not alone in having these patterns of thoughts dancing around my brain)
Today we read Psalm 42, it is one that is probably familiar to many of us. As I read it this morning, I heard my own voice in the words of the Psalmist Psalm 42 MSG – A white-tailed deer drinks from the – Bible Gateway I have chosen to use the translation in The Message, because the language felt more relatable and real, rather than poetic and beautiful.
All of us have now been living quite differently to what we expected for almost a year now. The pandemic has disrupted almost everything. It feels to many like the rug of the life we knew has been pulled from underneath us. It has not all been bad, there has been so much to be thankful for. Looking at the daily thankfulness posts in our Facebook group can be helpful, especially on the days we may be struggling-as others share what they are thankful for, we see glimpses of God at work in their lives and we too are encouraged.
When looking for a commentary for Psalm 42, I came across one that was titled “Honest prayer from a discouraged Saint” and felt this summarises the psalm quite nicely. I just love that vision of a deer so thirsty that it needs water to survive and how the psalmist compares that to our longing for God, it is about an inbuilt need, we need God not as an add on to life, but as the very thing that brings about our survival.
The conversation the psalmist is having, mirrors the conversations we can have in our own minds. When we are feeling weary and downcast and struggles feel overpowering, remember the psalmist, be honest in that moment, and allow ourselves to feel it all, this is what the psalmist does and then he remembers. In verses 6-8 he reminds himself of all that God has done, in The Message version it says;
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.
How amazing is that?
God is always with us, He is always present, He speaks to all of us, sometimes we hear, sometimes we don’t , sometimes we hear and choose to ignore Him…….although as Rev Jane spoke about Jonah in Yesterday’s Communion service, we may choose to run in the opposite direction, but God has a plan, a road map for each of us, we may end up taking the scenic route, but when God calls us He does not give up!
Even in this time of lockdown we can find ourselves being busy. Take a moment today to pause, be still and take stock of where you are right now, emotionally, physically, and spiritually then bring it all to God. Like the psalmist, if we fix our eyes on God, we too shall be praising, He will put smiles on our faces…
Of course, He will, He is OUR God!
How will God surprise you today?