This summer, I received an unexpected and surprising email. It was from the husband of one of the writers of the PresbyCan Daily devotionals. In Walmart, he had met my cousins, with whom he had been friends for many years, and he had wanted to invite them to a surprise birthday party for his wife. His wife was with him, however, so he decided to email them the invitation when he got home, which he did. Unfortunately, they had changed their email, and the invitation bounced back.
During the course of their Walmart discussion, however, my cousins had mentioned that I was going to be visiting Ontario shortly. Having thought of me, he emailed me to see if I had their new email address, which I did. In his email, he also invited me and my family to attend his wife's surprise party if I was going to be in the area at that time during my trip, which I was. His wife and I had corresponded many times through the years in regards to devotionals, but we had never met. What an opportunity to finally meet someone whom I enjoyed hearing from via email, I thought.
Thus, on a Friday evening in August, unbeknownst to the birthday gal, my daughter, my two granddaughters, and I showed up at this surprise party. My friend's husband eagerly came across the lawn to meet and greet us, and then, calling his wife over, he introduced us. It was a wonderful meeting and a delightful party, one which I shall always remember and treasure.
The surprise party brought this verse to my mind:
Matthew 7:21 – Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (NIV)
My friend had no idea whom she was going to meet the day of her party. On the day that we enter the gates of heaven, it would seem that that we, too, might be in for a surprise. There will indeed be some of those there whom we are expecting, but I suspect that there will also be those whom we may never in this life have expected to be there who will indeed be there.
God, and only God alone, knows the hearts of people. Sometimes, we might think that we do, too, by the way that a person speaks or acts or dresses or lives. But in reality, we often do not. Only God truly knows. On that final day, I expect there to be a lot of surprises at our heavenly party. This, in turn, was a good reminder for me always to treat others with the kind of love and respect that I myself would like to receive. After all, we do not know now all those with whom we will be experiencing eternity!
Prayer: Father God, thank You that all mankind has been created in Your image, and therefore, everyone deserves our respect and love. Help us to treat others daily as we would like to be treated, so that none of us might be ashamed on that final day by the surprising people whom we will someday find in heaven. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Count Your Blessings" (Lyrics)