Surprised by GOD
Over the last five years, I've had the pleasure of attending an Aussie Christian Writers’ Conference each October. At the first four events I was thrilled to be a presenter as well, which enabled me to afford the trip. This year (as in past years), I eagerly sent in an expression of interest for 10 possible workshops I could present at conference. I prayed diligently over them daily, asking that God’s choice be picked. I was so excited. But my bright balloon of hope was soon pricked and deflated, when I heard back from the conference committee. Surprise surprise! I wasn’t chosen to present this year. Really? That meant I couldn’t attend the conference. Was I sad? Yes. I was. Very.
That was when I received my first surprise. I’d spent the month of May at a personal writing retreat (at home) seeking God on my calling. During one week, I enjoyed a daily Google chat with a lovely writer friend from the US. Robyn grieved with me that I had not been chosen but the next day, she shared an unexpected insight. She told me that God wanted me to know that I was going for conference. Oh? She was all choked up. Robyn added that there was a purpose to my going but she didn’t know what it was. “Thank you” I said. My damp grey cocoon of sadness was transformed into a dainty lttle butterfly of anticipation.
What was God up to?
I awoke next morning to my next surprise. A precious Aussie writer friend emailed me to tell me that she and her husband wanted to gift me the money for the conference. I was blown away! Gob smacked, shocked, joyful, amazed, dancing. Wow! How could I accept it? But God had laid it on their hearts, so it didn’t seem right to refuse. I humbly said ‘Thank you”. The rejection I’d felt over not being accepted as a speaker gurgled down the drain-hole, thanks to my beautiful friend’s generous offer. How grateful I was!
A few weeks later came my third surprise. My brother in Sydney heard of my trip, and he bought me my plane ticket. Yes, it gets better and better doesn't it? Not only that, my brother and sis in law warmly welcomed me to to their lovely spacious home before conference (and afterwards too if I wanted). Of course I said ‘Thank you” once again. Two weeks ago, I boarded my plane for an action packed thrilling six day holiday in Sydney, kissing good bye to my beloved husband who dropped me off at the airport, plying me with plenty of spending money, bless him. What an exhilarating time it was! Rohan Ayya and Swen Acca pampered me from start to end, seeing to my every whim, not allowing me to lift a finger, driving me hither and thither, feeding me scrumptious meals as we relaxed together. I connected with a few close Sri Lankan friends too and their loving kindness was lavished over me. How blessed I was!
The conference was packed with gifted writers and speakers, helpful sessions to learn from, good food to digest, prayer times to relish, beautiful surrounds to enjoy, ministry opportunities to bless, fellowship that invigorated, new friendships and a whole lot more. But my final surprise, when it arrived could have knocked me over with hummingbird's feather.
Why had God taken me to conference?
Was it to minister to others at conference, as I love to do?
Yes, but not the main reason.
Was it so I could support my writer friends?
Yes, but not the main reason
- Was it so I could finally get a few of my books published?
Perhaps, but not the main reason.
- Was it to learn from all the brilliant writers and speakers?
Yes, but not the main reason.
- Was it so I would find inspiration for my writing life?
Yes, but not the main reason.
On the last day of conference, I spent a refreshing time with God in a restful chapel outdoors designed by Him under a canopy of trees. He led me to study Psalm 1—a passage that’s always been close to my heart.
“Blessed is the man (or woman) whose delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3
Of course. The Book of books. Thank you God for the reminder of which BOOK at conference was most important. It was then that God revealed to me why He had brought me there. In the blink of an eye I knew. Simple. He brought me there to meet with Him. I was amazed. And awed. He filled me with great joy as I shed copious tears in His Presence. The great God of the Universe desired to spend time with me. How was that possible? With me? Insignificant little me? Wow! Thank you Father.
Of course I knew He could do that anywhere, any time. But this was a special tryst! You see, I’d been longing for a retreat with Him all year. I’d had two so far, one in May and one in August, for my writing life and my life’s journey. But they had been different - in between carrying on with life’s trivial round. This then, was a unique gift from our Father. And what a gift it was. As I met with Him, He filled my cup and my joy overflowed. Jesus was enough for me. Jesus is enough for me. Always.
A bit later that Sunday morning, He confirmed it as I worshipped with the rest of the group in a stirring service of celebration. I sat with a writer friend from New Zealand, sharing a hand fan (because it was hot)! As Catherine and I praised Him together, we discovered God ministering afresh to our hearts. And for the first time during communion, I felt I really understood what it was about. I wept quietly—joyful tears of course, orchestrated by the Holy Spirit as we worshipped our God in wonder and awe and delight. I returned from conference with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face, a river of God’s joy bubbling within. What a gift!
Intimacy with Jesus. I couldn’t ask for more.
How are you doing today? Is there something missing in your life?
Jesus knows you. He loves you. He wants to meet with you too. Come to Him. Just as you are.
Let's trust Him. Let's meet with Him. Let's remain with Him.
‘But blessed is the man (or woman) who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 16:7- 8