Wednesday, July 10, 2013

the best surprises

Psalm 65:5  NLT
You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior.  You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.

I like surprises.  That is all different kind of surprises that show up when I am not expecting.  Gifts are cool.  Phone calls from a friend a long way away are awesome.  A letter in the mail or an email in my inbox from someone who is thinking about or praying for me is a blessing.  There are so many surprises I could tell you about.  But there is one that is better.

The best surprises are answered prayers.  Often we pray and never take a second look to see if our prayers get answers.  At other times the answers to big prayers come flying your direction are incredible, encouraging and could have only come from God.  Answers to prayer shouldn’t shock us because God is in the business of blessing His children.  God answers prayers that we offer to Him.

In fact I have some pretty big prayers I am praying at this time.  Some of them are the kind that recognize the truth if God doesn’t show up I am going to fail.   I have seen some of those answers in my lifetime. 

Yesterday was one of those days where the surprises poured into my life. 

The day began with a short meeting with some ministry partners where I poured out my heart and my desire, and the conversation went in some directions I didn’t expect.  But in the end there are several things that were evident as answers to prayers I have prayed, some recent and some not so recent.

As the day went on giving us yet another opportunity to drive the almost four hours to Richmond, Virginia to visit our daughter’s surgeon to see how Rebecca’s recovery is going.  It is good.  She has stopped losing weight.  Her chin, jaws, teeth, bite and smile continue to heal and are beautiful.  We had prayed for wisdom and for this to go well.  It has.  Another answer to prayer that we expected and needed.  Sweet surprise.

The trip to and from Richmond is long.  It is almost 400 miles round trip and about eight hours.  It is tiring, but along the way I got a text message from a friend.  I learned that God had answered another prayer that I had lifted several times.  It was really a surprise and a great one.

Looking back there were several answers to prayer today.  I heard that a local business is going to help buy socks for our back2school outreach.  Got a phone call at around noon from a local ministry friend that shared how she had the opportunity to share back2school with some very influential people in our community, and the response she got was so good.  During the trip we got an email from a church attender that was a big encouragement that talked about how God is blessing their family even in the middle of trials.  The list goes on. 

My favorite and the best surprises literally are answered prayers.  We must expect that God hears our prayers and that He will answer.  But we should also share with excitement how God answers our prayers.  Life is all for His glory.  Answered prayers bring God glory, and they also lead other people to see and worship God.

I have some big prayers that I am praying … salvation for several people, changed lives for some battling addiction, breakthrough for many looking for work and who have huge financial issues, for the resources to get into our new church campus, for a homeless shelter in our community, for strength in our marriage, blessings and wisdom on our kids … and more.

I cannot wait to see what God does next.  Surprise us, God!

And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.

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