Surprised by God

written by Rev Gary Heard

The very first day of our trip to Merimbula proved to be full of excitement and the unexpected.  It began in Walhalla when relaxing beneath some beautiful oak trees by a tiny brook, the peace being shattered by the crack of branches above our heads.  Not long after, as we drove down towards the main highway, we were confronted by a five-foot goanna sitting in the middle of the road, challenging us to invade his territory.  A few hours later we passed bushfires, then to almost collide with a kangaroo as it leapt from the forest, presumably looking for shelter.  As we settled in to bed that night, after quite a warm day, we heard the skies open, and a deluge began which was to last for three days.  Nature has its own surprises.

As I reflected on the day's events, I realised how much more life in the city is conditioned.  Many of the quixotic elements of nature are either dulled or rendered insignificant in the city, which is starkly contrasted to the country where nature often takes a heavier toll.  "How unpredictable nature can be," I thought.

The Psalmist notes that "the heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (19:1) telling us that creation reflects the character of its Creator.  What does it mean when creation can act so unpredictably?  That our creator is Himself unpredictable?  It sobered me to realise that God does not always work in the systematic way that I would like Him to, that there is that quixotic element to His nature that is beyond my comprehension.

And then I realised that at times we all need to be surprised by God.

November 12, 1995

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