Sunday, March 14, 2021

When God Surprises

by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” John 20:2 NLT

She knew what she was doing; I had no idea.

My wife and I—along with about one hundred other guests—sat under a large tent at our daughter’s wedding reception. Only the wedding had taken place four months earlier, courtesy of COVID. 

After a lip-licking catered Southern meal, the time arrived for our daughter and our son-in-law to have their first dance as a married couple. They slow danced for a few minutes, then suddenly broke out into a much faster move. Knowing my daughter and her shenanigans, this didn’t surprise me. I watched as she twisted around, rubbing her stomach in the process. Strange moves, I thought. I then noticed my son-in-law struggling to open a bag. I wondered what they’d bring out next. I soon found out: diapers. 

I remained clueless until my wife hollered and began crying. Oh, she’s pregnant, I surmised. We knew they had planned to begin a family right away, and obviously, it worked. Grandchild number five. Baby H for the moment. 

Mary got surprised also, along with the disciples. Although Jesus had told them He would rise from the dead three days after His death, they didn’t get it. Why else would Mary tell the other disciples that someone had stolen Jesus’ body? 

What was a surprise to the guests at the wedding reception was no surprise to my daughter and son-in-law. They had known all along. And what surprised Mary and the disciples didn’t surprise God. He had planned His Son’s resurrection before the foundation of the world. 

God’s surprises often come because we box Him up, thinking He can only act in certain ways. And to a degree, that’s true. He can only operate within the confines of His nature, which is holy. But many options reside within those confines. 

While God’s plans might surprise us, they don’t surprise Him. He knows the plans He has for us. They are good, and they will take us to abundant life. This doesn’t mean hard times and severe trials won’t inhabit the mix (even struggling through a worldwide pandemic), but the result will constitute good for us and, more importantly, for God’s Kingdom. 

Knowing God has a plan also reminds us of His sovereignty, which puts us in a comfort zone encapsulated by peace. Fate does not govern our lives—or the world. God does. Believing that, we can enjoy whatever journey God takes us on, even if it does surprise us. 

When God’s plan takes you by surprise, remember it’s not a surprise to God.


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God ( and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Busy World, released in December 2019. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.