Published on March 13th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
SURPRISED BY GOD’S OVERWHELMING GRACE
by Taffi Dollar
A surprise is something unexpected that amazes and astonishes us. Some people like being surprised, while others don’t. Our inability to plan for one can keep us off balance, which may be why God uses the element of surprise to let us know how much He loves us. Just when we get caught up in our busy daily schedules, He has a way of showing up to overwhelm us with His sweeping, immense favor.
One of the most dramatic examples of His grace was when an angel announced Jesus’ birth. When the angel told Mary, the news was probably the last thing a young, unmarried girl expected. “She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, ‘Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. He will be great, be called “Son of the Highest.” The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; He will rule Jacob’s house forever—no end, ever, to his kingdom” (Luke 1:29-33, MSG). Mary may have seemed insignificant in others’ eyes, but she had found favor in God’s eyes.
God later revealed the miracle to Joseph: Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:18-21).
Although Joseph didn’t fully understand, he obeyed God. Neither Mary nor Joseph seemed any different than others, but God had chosen them to show His grace to the world.
God sending His only Son to be crucified to save us from our sins may seem surprising to us, but it was all part of His master plan. We sometimes depend on our own intellect to understand why God does what He does; however, He doesn’t think like us. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8, 9). God knew exactly what He was doing; we can be forever grateful that He sees things differently than us.
One of the biggest surprises to many was Jesus’ resurrection. Large crowds watched Him die on the cross, but three days later people witnessed something they never expected. It was no accident that He chose to appear first to women (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-10; John 20:1-16). At a time when women’s inferiority was an accepted social norm, this was another way God leveled the playing field.
Even today God is still surprising us with His abundant favor. When we’re in a situation and ask Him for help, we can feel His loving presence in unexpected ways. He’s truly the God of the surprise.