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Have you ever been surprised?  The greatest surprise of my life came one evening at the dinner table when my wife made an announcement: “Honey, well I think I just might be uh…pregnant.” Ramona was talking when my mouth was full. Resisting a choking reflex, I took a quick drink, swallowed the potatoes and calmly responded, “WHAT? THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE! RACHAEL IS THREE DAYS OLD!” “Three months old,” she corrected me.  “But it can’t be. You’re joking, aren’t you? Ha, you’re joking.” I looked at her closely. She wasn’t joking. “Three kids in three years!”

Nine months passed. Location: maternity ward, local hospital. Jeffrey Paul had just been born. He came into the world much like our other two, but it was clear from the beginning that he would be very different. From week one Jeffrey let us know, long into the night, that he was not pleased to be here. His whimper could melt your heart, but his piercing howl could peel wallpaper. By the time he learned to use a soother, another problem had arisen: Jeffrey was—well—aggressive. Some would call him strong-willed. This became frighteningly evident the day we stood in a cafeteria line and watched him reach out and punch a total stranger—perhaps for the sheer joy of watching her bend over to rub her knee.“Do you suppose we got the wrong one?” I ventured that night. “You know, sometimes the baskets get swapped.”  “Naw,” my wife responded. “He’s too much like you.” She was right.      

I’m so glad that God’s grace tends to accompany life’s surprises. Today I can’t imagine life without Jeffrey. Life without his smile. This boy turned out to be one of God’s greatest gifts to me. He has provided me with a joyful, action-packed reminder that God knows what He’s doing. When I’m around Jeffrey, my mind often rests on Paul’s words from Romans 8: 28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This verse reminds me that when circumstances take me off guard, God isn’t surprised. In the midst of the ‘oopses’, the ‘oh dear’s’, and the ‘why God’s?’ he’s working for my good. For your good. 

So loosen up today. It’s gonna be alright. How do I know this? Because God took a whoops and turn it into a Jeffrey Paul. And I’ve never been the same.

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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