A couple weekends ago, televisions across the world were tuned into the anticipated BET Awards. Curiosities of who wore what and who would show up with whom were fully satisfied as eyes and imaginations feasted on the red carpet.
Many moments highlighted the evening — Mary J. Blige recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award; Nipsey Hussle, recipient of the Humanitarian Award; and Tyler Perry, recipient of the Icon Award.
There was one moment in particular that caught my attention. Admittedly, I am not certain of how the scene played out from the beginning. However, when Marsai Martin, the youngest person in Hollywood to produce a movie, heard her name announced as winner of the Young Stars Award, to say she was surprised is an understatement.
The look on her face was one of total shock and surprise. Now, she is an actress and a good one. So, she could have been acting. Yet, I seriously doubt it. From the looks of it, the shock and surprise was sincere. Interestingly enough, that expression has made for great memes on social media.
Nevertheless, as I thought about her shock and surprise, I recalled my own. As I recalled my own, I have found myself wondering what God thinks about it? That is to say, how does God feel when we are shocked and surprised when God is God to, with and for us? What does God think when we display “didn’t expect this to happen” or “OMG aka oh my God” in a way that says we had no idea?
The truth of the matter is, we do have an idea. There are 66 books in one volume known as the Bible that gives us plenty of an idea of who God was, is and will be. Even more, we have our own experiences of how God made ways, opened doors, closed doors, healed bodies, blessed us with opportunities, comforted us and the list goes on … and on … and on.
Now there are times of sincere shock and surprise. There are times where awe and wonder should be our response. However, we shouldn’t insult God’s intelligence or fake our faith, acting as if what came to pass came out of the blue. By that I mean, either we’re going to believe the promises of God and that we can receive them, or we’re not. Because we do believe, then there’s no need for the act of shock and surprise when God comes through. If we’re that shocked and surprised, then our faith might have waivered a bit. Otherwise, let’s stop acting ‘oh so surprised’ when God does what God said. Even more, let’s lean into the strength of Holy Spirit to help us be steadfast in our faith. Believe it is so! Believe it will happen. Believe it will be. Period!
Rae Karim, formerly chapel director at Christian Theological Seminary, is now pastor at First Christian Church of Honolulu. She can be reached at email@example.com.