Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

July 2020 Issue

Discover Paradise

From the Current Issue

No Surprises!

No Surprises!

Consider these often-heard expressions:

            “I didn’t see that coming!”

We get used to life being fairly predictable. Then when life throws us a curve, we are surprised.

            “I never expected that to happen!”

            “Did you ever think this would happen to us?”

            “I never imagined having to deal with this—ever!”

You and I hear expressions like this all the time; in fact, we’ve probably said them ourselves. And it’s understandable why we would say such things. We get used to life being fairly predictable. Then when life throws us a curve, we are surprised. Usually, we are more than surprised! We might be angry, hurt, shocked, or resentful.

Why do we feel that way? For several reasons: We sense a loss of control; we feel God has not shielded us from a negative event; or we suffer some loss. In short, we are surprised because we didn’t see the event coming. In other words, we are not omniscient—the theological word meaning “all-knowing.” If we were all-knowing, we would have prepared ourselves for what we saw coming and dampened the surprise factor. The circumstance would still be present, but at least we could have been prepared. We could have gathered our resources—spiritual, emotional, relational, financial—and prevented being caught off guard.

Dealing with life’s surprises is a perfect opportunity to understand more about God (that He is never surprised)...

Now, let’s think about those same phrases from God’s point of view. In general, can you picture God saying, “I never imagined that!” Or, “I can’t believe the situation that family is in!” More specifically, there is no doubt that an omniscient God would never say, “I didn’t see that coming!” In other words, God is never surprised! We are surprised, but God isn’t.

The element of surprise in human life is all due to our lack of foreknowledge, or complete knowledge. As I mentioned, what separates us from God is His omniscience: omni means “all” and science is from the Latin word scire, which means “to know.” Omniscience means “all knowledge”—past, present, and future.

If you and I had complete knowledge about the future, would we ever be surprised? Obviously not! Even if we couldn’t change the future, we could at least prepare for it.

Dealing with life’s surprises is a perfect opportunity to understand more about God (that He is never surprised) and see how His attributes can help us respond to the surprises we encounter in life. And specifically I’m speaking of those unpleasant surprises we experience—those that affect our health, our finances, our family relationships, our vocation, our material possessions, and others. Nobody complains about a surprise job promotion, an unexpected inheritance, a needed college scholarship, or the fortunate remission of a disease. We can handle the good surprises in life without missing a beat. It’s the hurtful surprises that sometimes throw us off course.

This issue of Turning Points could not be more practical. Why? Because you and I encounter unexpected events—surprises—every day. And we need to think about what those surprises mean and how we should to respond to them. In fact, you may have had a surprise or two already today or will before the day ends. Many of them are small and not terribly consequential: a surprise word or response from a family member, an unexpected traffic delay that caused you to be late, an unanticipated car repair, and so on.

But eventually, a surprise will have an enormous impact. Something will happen out of the blue that you never saw coming, something that has serious implications for your life or the life of someone you love. What do we do then?

In this issue we’ll be reminded that God knows “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:9-10), that God knows things before they happen (Psalm 139:4), that He knows all the days of our life before they take place (Psalm 139:16), that God sees everything (Hebrews 4:13), that we “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)—and more!

If you are surprised by something today or in the days to come, remember: God wasn’t surprised! That begs the question: What do we do when we realize that God let something difficult happen in our life? The answers to that question are at the heart of this month’s Turning Points.

Didn’t I tell you this was going to be a practical issue? Get ready to be surprised by life and then surprised again when you remember that God is never caught off guard.

More from Turning Point Radio

This is a Sample Title

1:37 / 3:48