Dinner Surprise

by Cheryl Ericksen
(Wood Dale IL)

My nephew at the age of 7 decided he would do something wonderful for his Mom. Oh how he loved her and he thought his idea would be so exciting. He quietly made his way to the kitchen pantry and set to work removing all the labels from all the canned goods on the shelf. That way when Mom got home after working all day they both would have so much fun having a “surprise” for dinner every night.


My sister Barb almost dropped her jaw when she walked into the panty to discover every single can of canned goods within reach, had the label torn off and there stood her son David with a huge smile on his face. He was so looking forward to her reaction when she saw the surprised he planned for her.

However, her tone of voice aptly conveyed frustration and annoyance so he quickly explained. This will be so fun. Every night when you go to make dinner you can pick a can off the shelf and we will both be surprised what we will have for dinner. This way you don’t have to think about it or ask the usual question; what should I make for dinner?

Being a single Mom there was no thought of throwing out good food so every day was a surprise and quite a challenge to make dinner with the cans she would open. Hoping to find a can of peaches she would often end up with tomatoes or a can of cream of mushroom soup. The good news is this was an opportunity for her to be very creative and think out of the box when it came to making meals.

Now that I think of it she still does like to create new recipes, maybe this marked the beginning of her sense of adventure with food.
Sometimes I think God is like my nephew; he likes to mix things up a bit and offer up His own surprises. I try and plan my life; I will finish school, then meet a wonderful guy, get married, have several perfectly behaved and model children and the list went on.

But one day I realized my plan had a few detours or surprises that I did not count on. Is it because God likes to “mess with us”? Or is it that he knows these experiences and adventures are needed to draw us close to Him. When things are going smooth we often ignore the Lord since we falsely believe we can handle life on our own terms. But throw in a few unexpected storms and difficulties and often we come running into his arms.

So the next time you are confronted with a “surprise” ask yourself; what can I learn and how can I grow and mature as a result? As the Bible reminds us; in all things give God thanks, for He is good, He is faithful to walk with us and help us through the “surprises” of life. But we must ask for His help. Don’t wait, do it now.

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