surpriseLast week, we had the first meeting of our pastor search committee.  One of the men brought a list of things that we need to remember as we go through the process.  It includes obvious things like seek God (#1) and pray (#2).  Item #3 surprised me although it shouldn’t have:  Be open to God’s surprises.

I laughed out loud.

Recently, our church hired a new choir director.  We, the members of the choir, knew exactly what we wanted.  No, not wanted.  We knew what we needed.  This person had to be an excellent musician and vocalist, able to play the organ and piano, and direct our choir as well.  Obviously, our ideal candidate would have to be middle aged, at the very least, to have all this experience and also to get along with our older congregation.

God has an amazing sense of humor.  He sent us Zack who can coax hymn after hymn out of our quirky pipe organ.  He can sing our various parts, switching from one to another without missing a beat, while signaling each section when to come in and drop out.  Then there’s the added bonus – he’s a teacher, talented in explaining to us how to bring out a fuller sound, how to blend and much, much more.

The surprise?  He’s in his mid-twenties.  We are his first church choir.  His talents in working with 7-year-olds seem to work just as well on us.

Yes, we realized that he was the right candidate for us but this decision was slow and painful in coming, because we knew what we needed.  Laugh all you want.  God knew better.

Think about this throughout this holiday season.  How often do you plan the spontaneity and possibly the Spirit out of your celebrations?

I know, I know.  It takes a certain amount of planning to get Thanksgiving dinner on the table, cards in the mail and gifts bought, made and wrapped by Christmas.  Without at least some planning, things don’t get done.

But, in the upcoming weeks, remember to check in with God now and again.  Take time to pray.  Listen for His still, small voice as you go through your day. You may think that you know exactly what needs to be done but be open to gentle nudges from above.  If you accept the surprises He sends your way, I promise you, the results will be amazing.