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surprise, surprise!

Years ago I remember watching a TV show called Gomer Pyle. His great mission in life was to please Sergeant Carter but the end result of that was usually chaos. Every time Gomer would make some great plans for helping Sergeant Carter, it would just make him mad. Pyle, oblivious many times to the serious nature of what had just happened, would smile and say, “Surprise, surprise!” It would infuriate the Sergeant and they would all end up with a very confused look about what had just transpired. Gomer had great intentions, but the Sergeant could never quite get over the surprise, so he missed what was supposed to be a great thing.

The Christian Life can sometimes seem that way to us. If we don’t understand God’s purpose in life, we sometimes feel like God is just waiting to see something wrong happen and say, “Surprise, surprise!” We do have many surprises in this life and sometimes those can get us down and cause us to doubt God or ourselves. Let me catch you up on a few things. God promises us eternal life and gives us that life through Jesus Christ. He also promises an abundant life here on earth that is filled with Him guiding, protecting and enabling each of us to live in His freedom. Those promises are real and if you will look a little deeper, you will see that God has delivered on His part every time.

But don’t be surprised when you encounter trials that are sometimes painful and hurtful. Don’t despair when things seem so bad. This only means that we are “in the mix” of what is going on and we are starting to make waves. He also promises that those who trust in Him will be persecuted, fire tested and sometimes unfairly treated by this lost and dying world. That means we are making an impact somehow, someway. Those things will happen, but He is there. When you have a shot taken at you by this world, God is there. When people treat you unfairly and you seem to get all the bad stuff, God is there. When bad people seem to get good things, and good people seem to get bad things, God is there. He is here! Surprise, surprise! He wishes only the best for you, but we do live in a fallen world and we are in a war. There will be injuries, but victory has already been won and we are the survivors. Look at what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:12 – 19: Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very think of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. If you’re abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It’s the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. If they’re on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that’s a different matter. But if it’s because you’re a Christian, don’t give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name! It’s judgment time for Christians. We’re first in line. If it starts with us, think what it’s going to be like for those who refuse God’s Message! If good people barely make it, what’s in store for the bad? So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it.

—1 Peter 4:12-19 (The Message) Don’t let the struggles of this world cause you to fall back. Press on! Now is the time to take a stand and God is standing with you. Won’t it be great when a world that thinks they can push God’s people into a closet somewhere and get rid of them, see that we are still standing and moving forward? Surprise, surprise. The Pilgrimage continues….. David Warren

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