Just One More Surprise
(Note: This reflection has nothing to do with a Starbucks cup!)
Sunday School classes sometimes ask the toughest questions! This morning I got this one from our teachers of older youth, Bill, Brent, and Josh: “What about those times when we just don’t feel that grace and love of God? Does that happen to pastors?”
My answer is emphatically, “Yes!”
Like you, I’ve failed at relationships; been rejected by schools; lost jobs; hurt by colleagues; felt my hopes sink; worried over finances; grieved loved ones; misjudged people; failed to live up to my own expectations; and more.
During all those times, God often seems singularly absent. In the words our Sunday School teachers used, I don’t particularly feel that grace and love of God.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, though.
Thus far anyway, God has broken in even in the most difficult times.
Sometimes it’s in the midst of writing a sermon and realizing that a piece of Scripture is meant for me. Sometimes it’s the unexpected email or comment that comes at the right time. Sometimes it’s through the words of a therapist, a colleague, a friend, or a spiritual director.
There’s a line from the hymn Borning Cry which goes, “I’ll be there as I have always been, with just one more surprise.”
As long as I am open to the possibility that God has (at least) one more surprise in mind for me, there is hope. I can rest knowing that I have felt the grace and love of God before and I will one day feel it again.
May we be open to God’s surprise.