Do you believe recovery from loss and pain is possible?  Do you believe God is faithful and full of surprises during recovery?  Can celebrating recovery be real for you and me?  I believe all three are possible when we put our faith in God who fulfills His promises and maintains His sovereignty in surprise.  God loves to care for His children and surprise them with special things, just as we do for our children. Visions of Christmas mornings with Cameron and Clint clad in pajamas waiting for the cue from their father to uncover their eyes and see the surprises dance in my head.  Writing the sunset stories of my life bring even greater joy while caring for and surprising our sons and James and Sarah’s daughters and their families. My love story, like yours, has seen some troubles and triumphs. Yet, God still cares for us and sends surprises. Plus, the best is yet to be for you and me when connected to Thee!

Loss and pain prevail across the planet where our love stories are being written.  The effect of the Fall, the reality of sin, the schemes of Satan, and the unexpected events of time and chance can rob our lives of meaningful joy and destroy love stories.  Yet, (even in these turbulent times) there is a way in Christ to recover all and write chapters of celebrating recovery.  Then, the love story we live will be a classic that will one day conclude with words from Christ and celebration in Heaven, “Well done my good and faithful servant”…and we will live happily ever after!

 My fingers feel ‘exceedingly great joy’ while trying to type what spews from my heart.  These stories of celebrating recovery with Christ as our cornerstone and main character could keep you (faithful readers) and myself busy writing, reading, and recovering through the summer season.  Summer, fall, winter, or spring - Jesus Christ can bring recovery and eternal life when He is the main character in our ‘Everything’! 

We should read the Bible as a story, not a manual or catalog.  It has a central storyline of Scripture told in the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, the patriarchs, Moses, David, Elijah, Jonah, the prophets and kings, the apostles and saints, and most of all the Gospel stories of Jesus.  All of these stories are connected to one another to tell the big-picture of the Bible - the story of God’s intention to recover all. And He does, over and over and over again!

The story the Bible tells does not begin with, “Once upon a time,” because God’s story begins before time. In the Creation story, what God created, He called very good.Yet, His story took a tragic turn when the snake crawled in the garden, changed Adam and Eve’s storyline, and caused the Fall.   This fall brought sin, sorrow, war, injustice, pain, oppression, and loss to what could have been the end of the story.

But it’s not the end of the story!  Even before leaving the stories of Genesis, God spoke about recovering ALL!   “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” 

God is no stranger to horror and sorrow in stories throughout the Bible. He was with Mary when her family and friends were ready to stone her, with David when he hid in caves and returned to a ruined Ziklag, and Ruth when her husband and sons died and she surprised her mother in law by entreating not to leave thee. “Whither thou goest I will go…thy people will be my people, my love” showed loyalty from a brokenhearted widow who also lost her sons and left her people to care for Naomi.  God noticed, for He sees the heart.  The sweet climax of what could have been a sad ending to her story surprised even Ruth. God sent Boaz, blessings, and a baby boy named Obed, all in the lineage of Jesus. God’s surprises come when least expected, sharing a little heaven on earth with children created in His image. Even in sad seasons when happiness is hard to see, God can open doors with divine surprises waiting for you and me.  

Oh to hear the stories of sweet surprises God has sent your way.  He knows exactly what is needed to bring sunshine to cloudy days.  Sending James Vann to Tim’s Gift to become my husband surely surprised me. The first time James asked me to dinner, I told him God wasn’t ready for that. How foolish that surely sounded; yet, James politely said, “I understand; I was your friend when I came and will be your friend when I leave.’  

God worked on my heart, showing me He knew what I was ready for. Sometimes, we get in the way of God’s handiwork and miss His surprises.  God heard James and my lonely cries, healed our broken hearts, and opened them to love again.  Our marriage and happy life together were gifts given lovingly from Him. James and I celebrated recovery.  Our love touches eternity for we are sealed together with Thee. 

If you are recovering from loss and pain, put your trust in God and see what He can do! Surprises will show up unexpectedly, your frown will turn to a grin, and the sun will shine again!  Celebrating recovery and surprises from Thee are divine gifts that can be real for you and me.