Week 47 Friday

Full of Surprises

Today’s scripture selection: Zechariah 8-14

Key Verses: Zechariah 9:9b

“See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Sometimes God comes to us in the most surprising of ways.

In this passage from Zechariah; long before Jesus of Nazareth; we hear these prophetic words of how He would one day arrive in Jerusalem – and meet His destiny.

Zechariah’s words probably sounded strange to his readers; Jesus’ actual “triumphal” entry into Jerusalem probably seemed anything but triumphal.  After all, ruling kings ride war horses – not donkeys.

But God surprises us, again and again.

Today, thousands of years later, I wonder if we too sometimes miss this God full of surprises.

Too often we look for some people to “get what they deserve” – and instead God shows them mercy.

Too often we pray for material blessing – and instead God showers us with less tangible, but ultimately more meaningful, blessings.

Too often we read the scriptures through our own lenses; reading into them the meaning we want – and instead God suddenly opens our eyes to something we have never seen there before – and the real meaning of the text.

And what is the greatest “surprise” of all?  That in His gentle, grace-filled way, He conquers death itself.

Resurrection – it’s one of His best surprises.

Prayer: Lord, give me eyes, ears, and a heart of faith – to see all the startling ways you love your children.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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