In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: ‘Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.’ She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, ‘Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus’…And Mary said, ‘Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say’.” Luke 1:26-31, 38 (MSG)


As we go about life, many times we have our guard up so that we aren’t surprised.  We try to anticipate the unexpected and unknown so that it doesn’t take us off guard.  Even if we stay informed and anticipate the future, we can only avoid the unexpected in life for so long. But, what if there were God-ordained surprises along the way that we are unknowingly trying to avoid?

God had a surprise for Mary. As she was going about her everyday, normal life, God interrupted the norm with a distinct surprise.  God sent an angel with a message that would change the rest of her life.  She would be the mother of Jesus, who would save the world from their sins. She didn’t know all the details; she just had the promise of God’s great surprise. We know the rest of the story of Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. But, at that moment, Mary didn’t know.  She didn’t know how God was going to work out his promise to her over the course of her life; she just knew that if God said it, then it must be so.  She didn’t ask God for a specific timeline, detailing the next 5o years of her life. She accepted God’s surprise.  Most people like surprises as long as we know about it first. We don’t want to be caught off guard by things that don’t fit into our life plan.  But, Mary understood that God’s life plan was far greater than what she could dream. Is your life structured in such a way that if God showed up with the wildest surprise of your life today, would you stop and notice or keep walking by?  The combination of readiness and availability converged in a divine moment for Mary. So the next time God knocks on your door with a surprise, don’t close the door on it just because it wasn’t packaged how you thought it would be. It could change the rest of your life.

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.