❝Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’❞ Acts 9:1-5
Reflection by Darlene Pilcher
Just when life is calm and going great… BAM! Things change. Faith suddenly feels weak. Emotions, thoughts and actions are in overdrive. Focus has been diverted from the serene to the dreaded ‘what ifs’. Pure and simple… life stinks!
In 1983, I was there. We were a two-income family when my boss announced the business would be closing in 6 weeks. For those weeks I lived in denial, falling behind in my office work, too scared to seek new employment, and focused on all the negative ‘what ifs’ that losing that job would mean. Four weeks later, the click of the lock at 5 p.m. echoed throughout the empty store ringing a foreboding reminder of devastation coming. Fear had won. Joy gone. Spirit shattered. Tears streaming. Sobs and fear shook my body. I railed at God. How could he do this to me, to us? He knew my paycheck was needed to keep food on the table, the lights on, and the mortgage paid. Where was God? I thought he was supposed to love and protect me… us. Why was this happening? I had been a good person. I was angry with him for lying. WHERE WAS HE?
Curled up on the floor of my office, I cried until exhausted. I gave up, letting go of the all fears and worries. Then I called my best friend for comfort. She listened, encouraged and prayed for me for help in finding a new job. As her words flowed, I felt peace enter my soul, reassuring me that I was not alone, that doom was not coming, and all would be well. I had to trust, relax, and look for a job knowing God was at my side. Joy came with peace bringing me happiness and hope. Three days later I called my friend for help in discerning which of the three job offers I should take. We laughed at God’s ability to surprise us. I learned to trust God completely.
God’s surprises certainly work to help people understand and grow in faith. God has surprised many people throughout time: raising the dead, feeding the multitudes, empowering the called, saving the sinners, holding up the outcasts, converting the non-believers, and then using them to share the good news of Jesus. He has done all of these things and many more. If I have learned one thing, I should know that when I am surprised by God, things are about to change.