A God of Surprises

Photo by Simon Wilkes on Unsplash
Photo by Simon Wilkes on Unsplash

“Do we have the faith that He can surprise us?”

On Easter morning, the women approach the tomb prepared to anoint a dead body with spices (Mark 16:1). Their biggest concern is the large stone they would need to roll away.

“When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.” (Mark 16:4)

Our God is a God of surprises.

Can you imagine anything more bewildering than seeing someone fully alive after you witnessed his graphic and horrific death? And not just alive as Lazarus was alive, but a glorified body, never to die again?

Our God is a God of surprises.

Perhaps we might be tempted to think, “He told the disciples what was going to happen. They should not have been surprised. They should have listened and known the Resurrection was happening three days later.”

But how often are we too surprised by God, only to look back and see how He prepared us? We can see how He made a way, how He promised us, how the dots are all connected. But it is only in looking backward in hindsight.

Other times, He utterly surprises us. He acts without warning, like the raising of the only son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). With no notice, he brings the boy back to life, shocking the widow and the funeral procession.

Our God is a God of surprises.

Both Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday remind us that God is always capable of surprise. Death has no power over Him. Sin does not have the last word. The most hardened sinner can become the greatest saint.

God is always with us. He can appear next to us on the Road to Emmaus when we are beside ourselves in grief. He can pass through walls and locked doors, prepared to offer us mercy through the very wounds that we created.

Our God is a God of surprises.

Even when things are not what we expected – the Messiah we hoped for dies before our eyes; we walk in grief to his tomb and think our biggest problem is rolling back a stone – we can have comfort that God will surprise us. Perhaps not how we would like or hope He will. But He is here. And He is capable of surprise. 

Maybe He won’t come down off the cross. Or maybe He won’t raise our only son from the funeral bier. Perhaps the surprise is that our own expectations, our own hopes, and our own ideas are not His.

That’s okay. Be open. Take comfort that He is here. Do we have the faith that He can surprise? Do we trust that His surprises are good? These are the lessons of Easter. He is here, He loves us, and He is ready.

Our God is a God of surprises. Even when things feel unexpected, confusing – He is here, surprising us.

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By Joannie Watson

Joan Watson was born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana, but college and graduate school took her to Virginia, Ohio, and Rome. After graduating from Christendom College with a B.A. in History and Franciscan University with a M.A. in Theology, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to be part of the explosion of Catholic culture in the middle of the Bible Belt. She has been blessed to work for Dr. Scott Hahn at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia at Aquinas College, and the Diocese of Nashville. She is currently a full-time Catholic speaker and writer. She also serves as the Associate Editor of Integrated Catholic Life. When she’s not testing the culinary exploits of new restaurants or catching up on the latest BBC miniseries, she’s FaceTiming with her nine nephews and nieces and enjoying her role as coolest aunt. She likes gelato, bourbon, and the color orange. Connect with Joannie on: