There are two kinds of surprises in life:
Type A: The kind we generally think of – when you actually have no idea about what’s coming.
Type B: When you know something’s coming but you don’t have all the details about it.
I generally prefer Type A surprises over Type B because there’s a very real “wait” that accompanies the latter – one that I am usually painfully aware of. And who likes waiting?
Not me. Not you. Not anyone.
A couple weekends ago, I had one of the biggest surprises of all. I was having a pleasant day out with the girls when this guy decided to fly to Houston and propose to me… crazy, I know. I’m still having a hard time believing it.
I’ve probably imagined this moment a million times in my life. I mean, what girl hasn’t? And after years of dreaming about what it would be like, it happened. It was real. And it was far better than all the dreams I had dreamt up for myself.
This is how the Lord works. His ways are perfect and inconceivably so. His plans are better – no, the best. After years of telling myself this over and over again, after years of disciplining my heart and mind to rest in this Truth, I was given the opportunity to see His plans unfold – to see the wait become something purposeful, necessary, beautiful, good.
This is how the Lord works. And it is perfect.
But back to surprises… this was a Type B surprise, y’all. Which meant I was on the edge of my seat just about every single weekend, waiting in suspense. I knew it was coming… but I knew nothing else. Suddenly, I became extra concerned with making sure my clothes matched, that my nails were done, and that I didn’t look as exhausted as I felt. I wanted to be prepared and at my best so that this dream I envisioned would go exactly as my brain had planned so many years ago as a young girl.
I’ve been processing this whole “being engaged” thing for about a week now and a single thought keeps coming to mind:
I keep thinking about how Christ has betrothed me unto Himself so sweetly, so tenderly (Hosea 2:19-20). I keep thinking about how He has loved me since before time began, before I was even formed in my mother’s womb (Jeremiah 31:3; Psalm 139:13-16). I keep thinking about His promise to prepare a place for me. I keep thinking about His promise to return for me, His promise to take me Home to spend forever with Him (John 14:1-3). I keep thinking about eternity. How magnificent it will be! How glorious! How beautiful and beyond comprehension!
I waited with such anticipation for the day Nathan proposed. I waited expectantly, joyfully (albeit, somewhat impatiently). I waited purposefully. And as I waited, I prepared for this “surprise” that I knew was coming. As I waited, my friends and family prepared me as well (though I didn’t know it at the time).
And even though I knew it was coming, my heart still raced as Nathan got down on one knee. Even though I had dreamed this up a million times before, I was still overwhelmed by love.
How then should I wait on the Lord for His return? How much more glorious will that moment be? Far more beautiful than I could ever imagine, though I have tried countless times before.
I have tried to dream up what heaven will be like, what being present, face-to-face with my Savior and the Lover of my soul will feel like. I can imagine it all I want, but it will never compare to the reality of seeing Him with my own eyes. Isn’t that incredible!
Praise God that we can rest in knowing, trusting that He IS coming again! Praise God that we have been given this knowledge, this assurance. We don’t have to wonder IF He will come – He will surely come! The only piece of the puzzle we’re missing is the “when.”
As such, should we not be on the edge of our seats every single moment of every single day, with eyes directed towards heaven, with ears intently searching out the triumphant sound of the trumpet? Should we not be waiting with such full hearts that threaten to burst at the seams? Should we not be waiting with such joyful anticipation that our tongues can’t be restrained from proclaiming the majesties of our God in heaven? Should we not be waiting, elbows-deep in the work He has for us here on this earth? And as we wait, should we not be preparing both ourselves and one another for His return – pushing, encouraging, refining, propelling one another in the service of our King?
As I type these words, I can feel my heart contracting, stretching, brimming, threatening to overflow from this body through the tiny tear ducts in the corners of my eyes.
His love is powerful. His love is mighty. His love compels. Though I have known Him for some time now, I’ve only now begun to understand this.
Type B surprises aren’t my favorite. But I am ever so thankful for them. Because they give me something to hope for in the waiting. Because no matter how much I’ve played them out in my mind, the real thing will always be better. Because knowing, expecting doesn’t detract even an ounce of the joy that awaits us in that moment.
Eternity isn’t a surprise by any means. We know it’s coming. And if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, then we also know where we’ll spend it – with Him, in heaven. Praise God for Hope in the wait. Praise God that our imaginations are far too small to ever be able to dream up what the moment of His return will be like.
Our hearts will surely race when we hear that trumpet! And we will be overwhelmed by love when our eyes finally rest on His beautiful face!
So may we wait faithfully, joyfully, and expectantly for Him, our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom we are betrothed forever.
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, | Luke 12:35
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; | Revelation 19:7