I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world. (Matt. 13:35)

LIFE IS FILLED WITH SURPRISES. Some of life’s surprises are wondrous things. Others are not. Our God is a God of surprises, and He can use things that surprise us for our benefit.

Sometimes the surprise is in relationships. On one occasion following our wedding, my wife told me that she thought I was a real bore on our first date. The surprise is that our marriage relationship has lasted nearly forty-five years.

Sometimes, we experience the surprise in illness or in a life situation that causes suffering. I was surprised when I awoke from the colonoscopy anesthesia to learn that I had malignant colon cancer. I was also surprised at the way life took on new meaning during and after my recovery.

Sometimes, surprise comes in little glimpses of the kingdom of God. In this morning’s readings, surprise is the theme throughout: a seed becomes a huge tree, a man finds a hidden treasure, a merchant finds a pearl of great value, fishermen retrieve a net filled with fish.

Our search for the kingdom continues to surprise us as we discover both what is old and what is new. If the Christian venture is worth anything, it is worth everything. God calls for a response—not one that is half-hearted or lukewarm, but one that is full, free, and even a bit reckless.

Cherish your life surprises and let God use them for a growing relationship with Him.

Drexel Rankin is a retired ordained minister who served full-time pastorates in Indiana, Alabama, and Kentucky. He and wife, Patty, live in Louisville, Kentucky.