Sunday, July 10, 2011

God of Surprise/Hope

Two young boys were always in trouble. So one day their mother sent them to the parish priest in the hope that he could help.
The first boy went in, sat down and his pastor asked him “Son, where is God?” a question to which the child gave no reply, so the priest asked again. “Where is God?” But again, he gave no answer, so the priest said “boy this is not a difficult question, where is God?”
By now the boy was not only shocked but frightened, he ran out of the church, found his brother and said: “We are in big trouble now, they’ve lost God and they are blaming us.”
The parable of the Sower, the image of seed spread randomly about, some on good earth, some on not so good earth, causes me to reflect on the oddities and surprises of God.  Why it seems as though some get more than others, while some are challenged, right from the start, by the harder facts of life: disease, disability, and poverty.  I wonder too why so much this universe exists unexposed to God’s Word, and therefore given very little chance to respond to it with any enthusiasm and faith.  I wonder how such an odd God is a God of hope.
History suggests that God likes to pick on the unlikely.  Surprise, God chose the persecuted people of Israel;  Surprise, God chose the little town of Bethlehem;  Surprise, God chose us.  
A friend of mine used to say, if you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans.  
Ours is a God of surprises.  
But then again, our God is consistent; always acting in and out of love for us. 
A giver of grace, consistently catching us off guard, Christ invites believers to change, to become better disciples, and Christ does so without warning.  And while we struggle with the burden of expectation, a load placed on ourselves entirely by ourselves, it is worthwhile to remember that God loved us first.
Dying and rising, God gave us hope in something, Someone, much bigger than ourselves.  If nothing else, what Jesus did, and continues to do, is the assurance that the God of surprises acts with purpose. 
Hope is believing that God, though strange, is faithful;  that God’s love is not measured or deterred by our mediocre replies to his overtures, and that even though the seed that falls on me does not bare all the fruit it can, God’s plans are fulfilled. 
This is our hope: that the cross of Jesus Christ is enough.   That what we, the world, fail to give back is covered by the ransom God paid on our behalf.  As St. Paul’s says – the challenges of this present time are small before the glory He presents.
To people of God, much love has been given.  May the Sower of surprises continue to grace us, and may we respond to Him with hope.  Or might we react as God expects -with sincere/mediocre enthusiasm and faith.