Should disciples of Jesus be surprised with suffering?
The surprises along the way are God’s surprises. He is never caught off guard or unprepared. He calls me to follow him beyond the boundaries of my wisdom, strength and character.
The waiting I must do and the surprises that I face are meant by him to be tools of grace. They are designed to release me from my self-reliance and the hold my dreams for my life.
In those moments of surprise, it is important to remember that you may be confused, but God isn’t. In this moment when you are not sure what is going on, you haven’t been abandoned. No, the opposite is true: you are being rescued. But living this way is hard for us.
When I scan the biblical story, I can’t help concluding that following Jesus brings a life of surprises. Whatever plans God makes and however I’ve tried to figure out God’s plans, I’m constantly greeted with surprises.
I face turns in the story that I never would have anticipated. God’s plan again and again included things that would not have been included in the story if I had been doing the planning.
One of the reasons for this is that I tend to focus on outcomes. I simply want things to go well and turn out right. God surely does care about the end of all things, but he is graciously at work in the process as well.