A surprising God
A few weeks ago, I was on my way back to Davenport from a wedding in Wisconsin. It was a beautiful drive, but I was too busy mulling over new responsibilities to take much notice. The to-do list that comes with starting a different life was weighing heavily on my mind.
But then I received a text message from an old friend. It was a photo of Lake Michigan from the promontory point, a walking trail in my old Chicago neighborhood. Aaron and I have been friends for several years – we met initially as student hospital chaplains – and it was a pleasant surprise to discover we were neighbors. We walked similar paths in our vocational lives, even though it led us to different churches. It was like we were riding a tandem bike, shouting directions and encouragement to each other as we steered forward. Our proverbial bike had a tendency to stop for lots of snacks along the way.
As I left Chicago to come to St. Paul, Aaron left Chicago to serve as a parish priest at a Catholic church in Minneapolis.
Lo and behold, Aaron happened to be in Chicago, just as I was passing through; both of us in our former city at the same time, what are the odds? In true Aaron and Amy fashion, we had to go eat fried chicken and catch up. As we talked over our new calls, our new homes, and new people, I couldn’t help but feel I had been given a holy gift. I felt like God had arranged an encounter just when I needed it. A divine surprise had come my way and knocked me off course for the better.
Unexpectedly veering off course – like the night when I took I-94 into Chicago instead of I-43 straight back to Iowa – is one way we can begin to understand the richness of God. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that we see God now as if we were looking into a dim mirror, but eventually we will see God face-to-face. These divine surprises that find their way into our lives are a flash of the face-to-face God. We get a break from looking though a dim mirror and get to see a glimpse of the one who is real. So keep your eyes peeled for divine detours, be ready to meet the God who wants to surprise you. The route may take you places you never imagined.
Amy Diller, pastor in residency