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One of the most influencial books in my life is Knowing God, by J. I. Packer.

This week, he wrote a delightful article about the greatest moments in life being surprises:

It

has been a full quarter-century since the long-haired clergyman with the ukulele drilled the church’s children in singing, “God is a surprise, right before your eyes, God is a surprise.” But the words stayed with me because, now as then, they match my own vivid experience.

The high spots of my life present themselves in retrospect as a series of surprises —happy surprises, from the hand of a very gracious God. Is that unusual? I doubt it. But I also doubt that we dwell on the happy surprises as often and as thoughtfully as we should. There is great wisdom in the elderly children’s chorus, “Count your blessings—name them one by one—and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Recently, at only a few minutes’ notice, I realized that I was expected to reply to some kind things being said about me by saying something personal and also devotional. Off the cuff I listed some of the happiest of the happy surprises that have come my way, and the story came out more or less as follows.

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