You know how some people love the thrill of being surprised? They love surprise parties. They would love to show up at work today and be told they are actually going on a surprise vacation and be whisked from their desk to paradise in just a few hours.
They would love to have one of those makeover shows show up at their house with a film crew and be told they’re getting a whole new wardrobe.
Surprises feel thrilling to them. Like the thrill some people get when a roller coaster ride you thought was over suddenly takes off again and starts doing upside down loops. They throw their hands in the air and embrace the thrill of the unknown.
They call that fun.
I love a good birthday party. But I don’t want it to be a surprise.
I love a good vacation. But I don’t want it to be planned for me.
I love winning stuff and would freely accept a gift certificate for a new wardrobe. But I don’t want all the clothes to be picked out for me.
I like (not love) a roller coaster. I don’t mind when it finally crests the lift hill and then careens downward like the bottom just fell out of the world. But I don’t want it to take unexpected twists and turns.
This dislike of surprises can usually be managed with all the things I mentioned.
My friends know not to throw me a surprise party. No one is looking to give me a surprise vacation or new wardrobe. And before getting on a roller coaster, I thoroughly check it out and know its patterned route.
But life is different.
Life twists and turns and throws loops into those places we think will be flat and smooth. Because that’s what life does. Sometimes it all just catches us off guard.
And at the end of the day, I guess that’s why I don’t like to be surprised. I can’t stand to get caught off guard. It makes me feel exposed and afraid.
But slowly, I’m learning it’s not all bad to be a little exposed and afraid.
That vulnerable place reminds us we have needs beyond what we manage. It reminds us we need God. Desperately. Completely.
And into that gap between what we can manage on our own and what we can’t, that’s right where faith steps in and has the opportunity to find deep roots. Roots that dig down and break up previously unearthed places within us.
My faith doesn’t just need to grow big, it needs to grow deep. Yes, I need deep faith roots.
Deep roots anchor us when surprises blow like strong, unruly winds.
Deep roots hold us steady during the next storm that didn’t show up on the radar.
Deep roots find nourishment when the surface gets awfully dry.
Deep roots allow for growth not previously possible.
Deep roots yield rich fruit.
So, I’m learning to not be so afraid of what might be around the next corner. Even if it does catch me off guard. I close my eyes and whisper… “deeper still.”
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit,” (Jeremiah 17: 7-8 ESV).