Glenn Ward, Director of Missions
IS GOD EVER SURPRISED?
The title question is not so much to stir up theological debate, but to seriously consider what is going on in our world. There is a verse that states that Jesus, seeing the faith of a Roman army officer and hearing his explanation and understanding of the authority of Jesus to heal his servant, it says of Jesus, “He was amazed…” (Luke 7:9). But is being amazed the same thing as being surprised? Some translations use the English word “marveled,” which seems to describe Jesus’ response to a Gentile’s demonstration of faith.
Now, having used this illustration, let me return to the title question—“Is God Ever Surprised?” For anyone who has studied Scripture, surely there is one simple answer—NO, God is never surprised, or caught off-guard by anything that happens. That is very important for us to remember as we consider the general trend in our culture, especially here in the USA. Should we be ringing our hands and feeling panic over the situations that seem to have everything in a total uproar, and so much hostility and divisiveness? Are we to think that God either no longer cares about our nation, or that He has been surprised at the way things have turned out?
Absolutely not! Just as the Bible speaks of Him grieving over wrong choices that His people made at various times, surely He is saddened about some of the ways people (who claim to be His followers) have left Him out of their decision-making processes. The late singer George Jones expressed it well: “I’m living and dying with the choices I’ve made.”
Let’s not blame God for His seeming absence, or surprise, over our wrong choices—let’s accept our responsibility and stay focused on Him and His will, and trust Him like the Roman centurion, causing the Lord to be “amazed” or to marvel because of our faithfulness.
May the Lord bless us all with such a heart for Him and an active faith in Him that He will be amazed, even though not surprised!
I’m so glad to be your DOM,