Several years ago, my husband and I went to an intimate concert of our favorite pianist at a local book store. He was promoting his most recent album release. We arrived and found our place where we could see Jim Brickman up close and personal. Mason saved our place as I went to purchase the new CD.
I was gone quite a while, the store was crowded. When I returned, Mason said, “Have I got a surprise for you!” He was so excited, he could hardly contain himself. I couldn’t think of what kind of surprise he could have put together in the amount of time I was gone, but he had done something.
“You get to go up and play the piano for the sound check!” Again, he could hardly contain himself. “What?” I asked. “Yeah, this guy came out and asked if anyone in the audience played the piano to do the sound check and I said you would do it.” “I have to go up there and play the piano in front of all these people?” “Yes, you’ll be fine.”
My life as a pianist flashed before my eyes. I was a vocal major. Yes, piano was my minor, but I wasn’t very good at it. I recalled a similar experience years before when my dad told the music director of one of our largest churches that I played the piano. I accompanied the 80 voice choir in front of several thousand congregants. Now that was nerve wracking. Surely I could play something here. I was a bit more accomplished since that long ago experience.
Suddenly, it was time. As I walked to the piano, my next thought was, “Jim Brickman will be the next person to sit at this piano and play its keys. What an experience!” Excitement grew and I was there. Sitting in my own little world. It was almost as if a large bubble had surrounded me. I didn’t hear anything or see anyone. It was just me and the piano.
I played Jim Brickman’s arrangement of “How Great Thou Art.” Well part of it at least. All too soon, the young man said I had played enough and that he appreciated my help. I walked back to our seats and Mason was beaming with pride. He had complete faith in me. It was a priceless moment.
I must say, Jesus was full of surprises too. If you look at each of the miracles He performed, there was surprise. Oh there was amazement and wonder and belief as well, but He did surprise people.
Mark 6:30-44 gives account of the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus takes five loaves and two fish, blesses them, breaks them, and then proceeds to feed the crowd with baskets of food left over.
When Jesus first meets Peter, Andrew, James, and John, they had been fishing all night long and hadn’t caught a single fish. Jesus asked them to throw their nets into the water and surprisingly, they catch an astonishing amount of fish. But then, they walked away from it all to “fish for men.” (Luke 5:1-11)
One of my favorite surprises was after the resurrection of Jesus and His encounter with Mary. She believes Him to be a gardener and asks “where the body of her Lord had been taken.” And with a single word, Jesus surprised Mary. He simply said her name. “Mary.” She immediately knew it was Jesus and nothing about her life would ever be the same. (John 20:10-18)
Those who encountered Jesus had surprising changes in their lives. Whether they were healed, raised from the dead, or forgiven of their sins, they knew something had changed. Their lives were changed by the Savior of the world.
Are you looking for God’s surprises today? Keep your eyes open. You just might be amazed by the graciousness of our heavenly Father.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,