Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Day God Shouted, "Surprise!"

When I interviewed for a position as the administrative assistant at our local Presbyterian Church, one of the pastors—with the utmost diplomacy—made sure I understood that I could edit bulletin and newsletter copy for grammatical errors, but not content. 

I smiled. I agreed. “Although I might not see eye to eye with your theology, I would consider it my job to simply transfer your thoughts to documents, not change the meaning to suit myself.”  Even though I was the pastor’s wife of a denomination that held differing views and worship practices, I believed I could rise above the dissimilarities for the sake of my integrity as a secretary.

When they hired me, I had no inkling the shock I was in for.

Keying in the worship bulletin on my first week, I braced myself for a challenge to my belief system. Instead, I found my soul lifted into God’s presence by the candid, heartfelt words of the liturgy and confessions. Why, this might be written by someone several hundred years ago or in this century, but it’s straight from the Bible, I thought.  I let the words sink in, making them my own, allowing them to change my thinking and broaden it.

While preparing copy of one of the pastor’s messages for the church’s website, I began to weep at the imagery he portrayed in the story of The Prodigal Son, which he re-titled The Loving Father.  I too had been a prodigal once, and even now faced a test of my faith regarding one of my own kids. The words of that sermon encouraged me not to give up on the Father’s strong love. Oh, how I needed to read this message today, I mused.  Pastor was surely inspired by God to preach this just for me!

My "lunchroom" view!

As I passed through the church building several times a day for various tasks, I sensed the sweet, calming presence of the Holy Spirit. I often felt compelled to kneel in worship, so overwhelmed was I by the sense of Jesus’ glory filling the building.  What is happening here, Lord? You are blowing away all my preconceived stereotypes of what Presbyterians are like!  I thought. But I’m so thankful you are. I needed you to open my eyes to your Spirit at work in other believers who serve in different ways than I do.

Will I change denominations? No. I really should attend the church where my husband preaches. Will I defend other Christians’ ways and means of worshiping God, even though they don’t fit my original schematic? You bet.

These Presbyterians thought they were hiring an administrative assistant. They didn’t know they were helping God shout “Surprise!”

Have you experienced a surprise, when God changed your thinking a little or a lot?


  1. Thank you for the encouragement to not give up on the Father's strong love. I read this at the right time this morning.

    I'm so happy you are being blessed at your new job.

  2. Jeanette: When God leads us to something different from what we know, He has something great in store for us. This denomination thing won't matter when we get to heaven. There are no corners for Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Church of Christ people, or Presbyterians-- God looks on us as His believing children.

  3. We really do learn something new most every day, don't we? :) I've done this as well, not thinking I can gain anything from a certain denomination, etc.The older I get, the less I find I actually know. Glad you shared this! :)

  4. very encouraging, thank you.

  5. So fun, isn't it? Those unexpected surprises from circumstances that God uses to show us who He is! God has definitely been transforming my mind. There was a time where insights came like flood waters! In a dry season now, but that is okay.

  6. Hi Jeanette! I love that you found God in another denomination. I used to think that my faith tradition was the 'only right one', but I am beginning to see how Jesus and His Father and Spirit do not obey the fences we put up in our minds and hearts. We're all just trying to get to heaven!

  7. Little did you know what God had in store for you at this new job! Amazing how He blesses us in the daily walk through life!


Oh, it's YOU! I'm so happy to see you here today, and look forward to reading your comments.