God of Surprises

Long ago a woman sent me a letter in which she shared a thought-provoking experience. She said that one day in church she was overcome with sadness and began to cry. To her distress, she discovered that she didn’t have a single tissue with her. She turned to the woman seated beside her, a stranger, and asked if she had a Kleenex she could have. The pew partner opened her purse and took out a lovely lace handkerchief. She handed it to the weeping woman and said, “Keep it.” This incident led the woman to reflect on times when she asked God for just a “Kleenex” and he gave her a “lace handkerchief.”

God’s extravagant actions occur over and over. He delights in surprising us. This is the God who, when we prayed for a Savior, came down himself as a human being! So a pregnant mother prays for a healthy baby, and she has twins (maybe triplets). A dad prays that his son on drugs will become clean, and the boy not only recovers but is better than before. A family prays that they find a new home within their means, and just the right a house goes on the market—and it has a swimming pool in the backyard.

In reviewing my life, one of my God-planned surprises popped into mind. I had asked only for a minor favor, but God still humored me. I needed a long-sleeved, white blouse quickly. My short arms and nonexistent shoulders make it difficult to find one that fits. As I walked into a store, I prayed. There in the middle aisle was a rack of just what I needed. The first blouse I tried on fit to a T. Best of all, it was on sale!

Just recently I prayed for safety during my trip to Arabia. Out of the blue, a delightful Jewish woman asked if she could be my companion. This time when I met with trouble, I wasn’t alone!

Jesus promised that our heavenly Father, who loves us, would give us good things when we asked. What he didn’t say was that God sometimes answers in a prodigal way, bowling us over with his unexpected generosity.

You might spend some prayer time reflecting on your life and picking out times when God gave you far more than what you asked. When did he present you with a lace handkerchief?




  1. Sr. Juliemarie McDonald, SND on February 26, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Love it. Here is one for you. For weeks I’ve been asking God for a stacker of 3 for my desk. Each week I go to our community storage and look. NADA. I don’t give up. Ask 2 other people to join in prayer. Yesterday, I took my usual trip to storage! Lo and behold a 6-shelved stacker! Another “Surplus Surprise!” I hope others send you ideas. Don’t you think you could write an inspirational book on a God of unusual surprises? To me these are faith stories to be shared. Thanks again for such a creative, fun piece.

  2. Kathleen Glavich, SND on February 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Juliemarie, that would indeed be an interesting book. Why don’t you write one? Thanks for sharing your recent story about God answering your prayer twofold.

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