I love planning surprise birthday parties! A couple of years ago, my roommates and I planned a surprise 30th birthday party for our friend, Steve. At that time Steve had a bit of a Spider-man fetish, so we indulged him by purchasing a cake, napkins, poster, and action figurines, all featuring the web-slinging super hero. We also invited a ton of people out to a house in Jonesville, MI, where the party would be held.
Gabe, Josh, and Steve piled into my car on the big birthday night, and we made the thirty minute drive from our apartment in Spring Arbor, MI to the party in Jonesville. I don’t remember many of the details, but I do remember that Steve was so surprised that for a second, I saw his expression melt into genuine gratitude. I’ve never seen him so happy. Perhaps the most touching moment happened when the party was over. He took all of the leftover cake home and kept much of the Spidey regalia for months, including the unused dishes and napkins and a tablecloth, which he hung on his bedroom wall.
I’m not sure why this scene haunts my imagination so vividly today. I’m down in Texas at Camp Eagle leading worship until Sunday. It’s in the middle of nowhere. I have internet, but there’s probably not a cell phone tower within sixty miles. I’m lovin’ it, but I’m not sure what I’m doin’ here. I just know that God asked me to be here. Maybe the reason is that today I’m like Steve. I’m along with God for the proverbial ride to Jonesville, and maybe there’s a surprise waiting.
I’ve often sensed God telling me to go certain places and ignored Him. Lately, I’ve decided to live from my heart, and just do whatever He’s asking. In Romans 8:28, Paul says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I believe the Bible is His word, so I know that He’s working this camp experience out for my good and for the good of those around me.
I’ve stopped asking, “Why?” whenever I feel God’s prompting because I remember that when I’m trying to plan surprise parties, I don’t want to give away the surprise. Maybe that’s why God seems so silent sometimes. Maybe He’s just waiting to surprise us.