If TV and movies have taught us anything, it’s that the person you seek — whether it’s a fiendish murderer or some luckless gal’s soulmate — is always the one you least suspect. That good-looking, solid, nice-as-pie guy? He will be discarded in favor of the man our heroine claimed to hate and has bickered with for a full 90 minutes. The FBI agent? Actually a KGB spy in disguise. It’s gotten to be such a common ruse, the astute watcher can guess the outcome based on the premise that whoever-dunnit will be the person who appears most ridiculously unlikely to have done so.

We apply this principle to pop culture, but seldom examine its application to our own lives. When we make that big sale, land that elusive account, garner the attention of a significant other, whom do we look to for praise? Ourselves, of course. When we bungle the big sale, lose the account, get dumped or overlooked, whom do we look to for the assignation of blame? Probably someone else. Maybe ourselves. But what if, in every instance, we are wrong? What if, all along, it really is the one we suspect the least — God?

Sure, we sometimes remember to thank God for the good things in our lives. It is easier to see God as the engenderer of positive things, less easy to see God’s presence in things like war, death or tragedy. But The One You Least Suspect has a hand in all things, all ways. You may not see it, but it’s there.

Someone once described understanding God’s movement in the world to the following: A single page of a huge manuscript is torn from a book. The page is battered by wind and weather until it consists of a few legible sentences. Someone finds this scrap of paper, and based on it, claims to understand what the entire novel was about. It is ridiculous on the face of it. So, too, is it ridiculous for us to claim to understand how God works in our lives…or to discount God’s existence based on a similar, crabbed view.

You are a part of God’s divine providence. God has a plan for you and for the world. Perhaps it is time to recognize The One You Least Suspect for having outwitted us all — though I suspect none of us will understand this fully until our deaths. In the meantime, give God more credit, even for those things that seem hopeless or wrong. God has stronger eyesight than we do. God sees the big picture. God will surprise you, whether you expect it or not.

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