Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I love surprises.

Well, most of them.

An unexpected bouquet of flowers – good thing. An unexpected flat tire – not so much.

But, my favorite surprises have to be the ones that come from God's Word. You know what I'm talking about. Those nuances or details or insights that, though you've read them countless times before, suddenly jump out at you – and you learn or see or hear something completely new in the Bible.

Spiritual serendipity.

Moments when I slap my head (sorta like one of those "I could've had a V-8" commercials) – and just smile and go, "Huh…"

I've had several in the last few weeks, and I thought it might be *fun* if I shared them with you.

Let's start in the Old Testament:

"Moses said, 'I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.' So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.'" (Exodus 3:3-4, NKJV)

OK, the story of Moses and the burning bush. You've heard it many times – I've heard it many times. So, what did I see this time?

This part: "So when the LORD saw that [Moses] turned aside to look, God called to him…"

I had never really noticed before that God did not talk to Moses UNTIL Moses turned to look. I have always known that God talked to Moses from the burning bush. What struck me this time was the timing.

Moses turned toward the bush – THEN God spoke.

So, here's what I'm thinking.

I spend a lot of time thinking about, looking for, wanting some kind of "opportunity" to drop in my lap to serve the Lord. I think to myself, "Shouldn't I wait for the Lord to show me what to do?" And then, after waiting for a (long) while, I might say a little less patiently, "Isn't God supposed to bring something to me?"

After this particular passage hit me anew, I asked myself this question.

Is God just waiting for me to turn?

Maybe God is waiting for me to move first. It's hard to drive a parked car, after all.

Now I'm not advocating moving willy-nilly all over the place without prayer and counsel. But I am saying that sometimes we sit waiting when we should be faithfully moving out.

I think God just might be saying – Turn in curiosity, and see what I might say. Try some new doors, and see what I might open. Explore new avenues, and see where I might guide you.


Now let's move on to the New Testament:

"They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but he called out to them, 'Don't be afraid. I am here!' Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!" (John 6:19-21, NLT)

OK, the story of Jesus walking on water. You've heard it many times – I've heard it many times. So, what did I see this time?

This part: "…and immediately they arrived at their destination!"

I had never noticed that part. I've always been so captivated with Jesus' ability to defy nature. I've always been so comforted by His kind and encouraging words. I've always been so sure that I had the complete story, that until now, I had missed the second miracle.

I checked other translations to make sure that that little tidbit of miracle was there. It was. And here's what John Gill's commentary had to say about it:

"...and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went –
 which was done, as Nonnus observes, by a divine motion; for not only the wind ceased, but another miracle was wrought; the ship was in an instant at the place whither they intended to go."

So, here's what I'm thinking:

Jesus didn't get into the boat and help those disciples row the rest of the way to shore. Not this time. This time He performed a second miracle. He immediately brought them to their destination – suddenly and unexpectedly.

When I am in the middle of the storms in my life, I pray – of course I do. And the Lord comes to me. I invite Him into all the troubles that are raging around me. And He does indeed say to me, "Don't be afraid. I am here!"

But, do I ever really consider the possibility that He might immediately change the situation? Do I pray bigbelieving that He could perform a miracle? Do I entertain the thought that Jesus knows my destinationand He might just fast-forward me there?

Do I believe that when Jesus appears, anything can happen?!

Yes, sometimes He calms the storm.

Sometimes He invites me to walk on water.

Sometimes He gets into the boat, and we ride out the storm together.

But now – a new possibility! He might just perform a miracle, and my rowing might be instantly needless in one shining moment.


I've got one more.

Can you hang in there?

New Testament again:

"[Jesus] stepped forward to meet them. 'Who are you looking for?' he asked. 'Jesus the Nazarene,' they replied. 'I AM he,' Jesus said…As Jesus said, 'I AM he,' they all drew back and fell to the ground!" (John 18:4-6, NLT)

OK, the story of Jesus being arrested. You've heard it many times – I've heard it many times. So, what did I see this time?

This part: "As Jesus said, 'I AM he,' they all drew back and fell to the ground!'"

How did I not notice before that these words, this Name, uttered from the lips of Jesus threw these people to the ground?!

I wonderdid Jesus shout it? Did He whisper it? Or did He say it calmly, stating it as the matter of fact that it was?

And this – did the disciples fall down, too?

Oh, how I wish I could have been a "fly on the wall" (a gnat in the Garden??) – and seen this scene unfold.

So, here's what I'm thinking:

There is power in The Name.

Does that thrill you like it thrills me?!

Just the Name, just the Voice of Jesus saying it, was enough to topple people. His Voice had authority, it had power, it had the ability to knock people off their feet.

It still does.

It's a divisive name – a bold claim. Jesus is God. In many circles, that isn't going to win you the Most Popular vote. I don't know about you, but I kinda like that. It kinda makes me stand a little taller.

One day, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.

But what about now? What about me?

Am I knocked off my feet by the fact that the great "I AM" died for me? That the awesome "I AM" rose from the dead to give me life? That the glorious "I AM" is the One that I serve? That the majestic and almighty "I AM" is my friend?

I should be.

I should be knocked off my feet, down to my knees, and flat on my face.

I am loved by "I AM."

His words silence me. I am hushed with humble gratitude.


So, my friends – thanks for hanging in there with me! I hope my thoughts cause you to ponder, too.

The Word of God is alive and powerful.

And it is full of surprises – really, really good ones!

What's something you've learned lately from the Bible that struck you in a new way?

Come and enjoy some nourishment at Joan's GRACE CAFE!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Excellent and true - you never know when he answers you and sometimes he says no. sandie

  2. Sharon, I love when I have those light bulb moments. The Word of God is alive. Something that had become common place to us can suddenly to on new insights. I hadn't thought about those two passages in that way either but you brought out some excellent points.

  3. SURPRISE!!!

    Blessings Sharon's only me... and I'm working at catching up. Now it could be me, but this seemed rather long so (sorry) I'll have to come back. There is so much good in your SURPRISES but right now, my mind is dull, I guess and I'm listening to a church sermon so I can't focus on both... and this is so good! I'm excited to focus on those
    'moments' with God... but mine would make a book. Can't wait to soak in all the ones that God impressed on your heart... I'll be back!


  4. I should have had a V-8!!! (how true) (rofl)

  5. Hi again! I love when you share your sweet sense of humor and what God impresses upon you. I delight in hearing Him speak and I love most surprises... if they are God inspired! So

    "God just might be saying – Turn in curiosity, and see what I might say. Try some new doors, and see what I might open. Explore new avenues, and see where I might guide you."

    This is not a surprise to me for you. (and for me, I guess I'm a willy nilly...I move forward and then later ask, should I have waited for You, God? was this just me? and I still doing and going about this my way?) Impulsive and than very repentant. Maybe this is why the song "TURN, TURN, TURN" came to you this past SONday (in Bible Pick'ems)!

    You know what I saw in both passages OT & NT, but not a "light bulb' moment... "I AM HERE!"

    Guess they were slain in the spirit by the GREAT I AM!

    WOW! Just wonder and wonderful insights! I love your love for God's Word and the way you dig and share. I am always blessed by you and your written thoughts! Now, as far as the unspoken ones... we'll see as you go forth and SPEAK in Jesus' get going and stop stalling or turning around and around... move forward,OK?

    Thanks as always... Love and God's BEST,

  6. I believe your enthusiasm is contagious!!!

  7. Amen Sharon, I love that one about Moses. I have been waiting for some things in my life for way too long; perhaps, it is time I try some new venues:) Thanks for sharing.

  8. Isn't it great how God's word is alive like this? I get a lot of "ouch" moments sometimes when I'm reading the Bible, LOL (in fact I mark them, ouch) But one thing that I thought about a week or so ago was when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, what did they experience afterwards? What changed in their thinking, what did that look like to them? Of course they realized they were naked, but it just made me wonder what their thoughts were, which I'm sure was followed by regret.....


  9. I love Bible surprises, and I really love your term Spiritual Serendipity. That's a perfect way to describe it. I love to do the kind of passages that I call "coloring book" passages. Those are the ones we first read as a little child and probably had the color sheet to go along with them. It's in those passages of most familiarity that I find some of the biggest surprises.

    I don't know which one of your surprises I love the best. I think it might be the middle one about the boat for obvious reasons. Thank you for pointing that one out to me. I hadn't even paid attention to that before.

    Oh, how I want Him to walk across my waves, climb into the family boat, calm my storm, and take us to our destination in one big I AM moment.

    In fact, doesn't he say, "Fear not; I AM" there too? Now I'm going to have to go and check...

    I love these. Hope you find some more surprises to share.

  10. Wow - great insight! I love that God's word is alive and ACTIVE! It speaks to us differently each time we read it though the truths remain the same. It reaches us just the way we need to be reached. Thanks for sharing your spiritual serendipitous moments! I have a sudden urge to go and open His book right now!

    Blessings, Joan

    P.S. Yes...of course! Feel free to copy those 7 reasons from my page and print them out =)

  11. Sharon - I recently read that passage in John and realized the power behind His name when they fell to the ground. Although I had read it many times before, it never dawned on me about the power behind His words.

    I love to be surprised when I realize something new in His word.


  12. Thank you for the blessed surprises the Lord delivered through you.
    Moses and the burning bush and your analogy of not being able to move a parked car reminded me of the numerous times I was instructed to make a decision one way or the other and stop sitting on the fence waiting to hear from God. I was told that if I moved, then He could direct me. It's true!

    And the other surprise that struck me was calling on Jesus. Just the other night, Hubby and I were in the midst of one of the worst storms to hit our family in a long time. We were at our wits end trying to think of a way to solve the circumstance. (I had been just praising the name of Jesus quietly, hoping for peace) But when Hubby and I sat down and he cried out to the Lord, suddenly the boat was pushed to shore--and a miracle was laid before us.

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful surprises we can hold onto in times of desperation and spurring us on to find more gems in His word through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    You are a precious gem who has allowed the Lord to fashion and use her. So glad I met you.


  13. I was planning to head to bed after reading this post, now I want to read these passages for myself. I like surprises too. (0:

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Your observations were all new to me too, so thank you! Yes, I agree, the name of Jesus thrills me too! When my daughter was two, I taught her that old worship song:

    Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...
    there's just something about that name.
    Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...
    like the fragrance after the rain.
    Kings, and kingdoms, all pass away
    but there's something about that name.

    It nearly makes me fall to my feet when I hear her sing it. There is something about that name!

  15. Hi Sharon -

    Thank you

    I love this message.

    There is so much that you expressed here that struck me deeply. I thank our Lord that He sent me here to read this....

    Glory to GOD


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)