“God’s Joyful Surprise” – Book review

God's Joyful Surprise by Sue Monk KiddGod’s Joyful Surprise is another winner by Sue Monk Kidd. Even though it was her first book. Even though it’s over 20 years old. Her story is timeless.

Sue takes us along her journey from stress and struggle to quietness and peace. From trying to earn God’s love to relaxing in his unconditional love.

She shares many anecdotes along the way so that by the end of the book, you feel you’ve been walking with a friend, as well as walking on your own journey with God. I had a similar feeling after I read her newer book, Firstlight.

So God’s Joyful Surprise gets a high recommendation from me. Any book that makes me stop, mid-sentence, to ponder a thought, gets my thumbs-up. This one did that.

See for yourself:

BEFORE
* Doing was everything. I measured myself by how much I accomplished. I mean, nobody ever said, “What did you become today?” They asked, “What did you do?”

* The pace of my religious activities left little time to get to know God personally, let alone enter the depths and mysteries of God.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS
* Perhaps God’s presence among us is brighter and more extravagant than we have imagined. Perhaps the very idea of life is to experience and discover God in it. Maybe we are meant to journey not only toward God or even for God, but with God. With. 

It’s hard to describe the impact that little preposition had upon me. It transformed life into a companion-journey, a sharing of God’s presence.

* I feel hesitant admitting the strength of my desire for Him. We Christians are schooled in moderation. But God’s love has never been moderate.

And to find yourself invaded by that love, incited by its fire, can be a consuming experience. In awakening to His love there is little that is moderate.

LIVING IT
* Life doesn’t stop for the holy to happen. Holiness occurs in the course of life—or never. You simply open to God here and now.

* Our time on earth should not be spent trying to transcend “worldly” things or the material world, but finding God in the midst of them.

* The joyful experience of being loved by God makes it impossible for us to separate loving God from loving others. No matter how we express our love for one another, we may be sure that God will multiply His presence to us.

For we are nearest God when we love.

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