Asking to be Surprised

I have a good friend who says to me that we tend to think we can second-guess God. We say, “God’s will will be A, B, or C — only to have the answer be God’s will is H, heliotrope, which never occurred to me.”

When we believe in God and put our faith in God, we are asking to be surprised. God is all-powerful and works on our life from all corners. We may think “Now is the time to focus on my career,” only to find that God has decided “Now is the time for me to find a fulfilling personal relationship.” We may decide “Now is the time for me to find a personal relationship,” only to discover that God has decided to stabilize our career. God’s version of what is good for us is far more far-seeing than our own. We can seek to cooperate with God, but we do well not to argue too hard with God’s sense of timing.

Few things create more misery than a fight with God about the seasons of our life. When we hold out, stubbornly insisting on a certain blessing that we feel God is withholding, we miss the many blessings that God is in the process of bestowing. When we are saying, “I want this now,” we miss that that may be coming to us instead. We may be asking God for a romantic relationship in a period when God is focused on building up our grid of nonromantic friendships. We may be yearning for a special someone to make us feel more special while God is working on giving us that feeling for ourselves, independent of our romantic status. We may be asking God, demanding of God, that we be given someone to make us feel less lonely when God is in the process of teaching us how to be comfortable on our own.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 21-22

Becoming Larger

Very often when we are in a panic about faith, it is because God is making us larger. We do not see how we are going to be able to make ends meet, and we doubt that God is going to do that for us or through us. We are afraid we are being made smaller, and yet for some of us the temptation to rush back to what once was a right size and is no longer is a very real temptation. “I’ll just cut my losses,” we decide, and then we set about trying to wedge ourselves back into a former definition of our self that no longer holds true. What happens? It doesn’t work very well. We cannot go back, but we do not see how we can go forward either. And the answer is that we cannot go forward of our own steam, left to our own devices. In order to go forward and become larger, we are going to need the grace of God.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 16-17


If you want to be impressed, note how often God’s people seem to be waiting….

I came to the parable Jesus told about the ten maidens waiting for the bridegroom…. I’d always thought that the point of the story was that we should be prepared. But in my reading after the retreat, it seemed to be just as much about waiting. Waiting through the dark night. The idea is that waiting precedes celebration. If you don’t show up prepared to wait, you may miss the transcendent when it happens.

Most stunning to me was the picture I began to get of God waiting. The parable of the prodigal son would be more aptly named the parable of the waiting father. It tells us much more about God than anything else — a God who watches and waits with a full heart for us to make our homecoming.

— Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits, p. 28-29