Surprise!

I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19

I knew nothing of surprise lilies before living in Missouri. They surprised me indeed when I first saw the pink flowers adorned on tall slender leafless stems suddenly appear among gardens and various landscapes late in summer. From where did they come? How did they grow up so quickly? What should I call them? To an often dry and dusty end of summer terrain these unexpected flowers brought grace and beauty.

What a great name for a flower— “SURPRISE Lily!” It is well suited for a plant that appears so suddenly and unexpectantly in unanticipated places. What a wonder and joy it offers with its simple stem yet delicate and almost translucent pink petals. The surprise lily serves too as a reminder that you just never know when nature will wow you!

God is about surprises too. As soon as we think we have seen it all or know it all—SURPRISE—God shows up when and where we did not expect! Typically, we think of God creating the world eons ago while forgetting that God continues to create today. “I am about to do a new thing,” God said to Isaiah. A new thing. God is still in the habit of bringing forth newness of life. Oftentimes, this comes as such a surprise to us. We live wilderness and desert lands not expecting rivers and byways. But then God springs up in our path with something new, beautiful and joyous. Our task is to keep our eyes open. “Do you not perceive it?” God asks. “Yes!” we want to be able to say!

Sometimes the surprise comes from within. Suddenly, we are hit with a sense of wonder or struck with gratitude. Other times, an unexpected hope or courage rises in us and we are ready to be about the new thing God is doing in us. We find ourselves surprised yet immensely grateful to be alive and a part of what God is up to in this world.

So keep your chin up. You might see a surprise lily in your neighborhood. Or, better yet, you might be surprised to find God doing something amazing around you or deep within your heart. Wherever you are surprised take in the beauty of it all and be filled with gratitude for the creative goodness of our God.

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