The secret plan is drafted and crafted. The text message from Allen is complete with video directions to the side street we are to park on and what time to arrive. Phone calls are made and assignments gladly accepted. Cupcakes, cookies and chips. Beverages and balloons. Streamers and cigars.
Every successful surprise party hinges on the ruse. The distraction. How do we get Matt here without raising his suspicion?
Shane and Tim eliminate the perennial “what if he shows up early?” problem by arranging to pick Matt up. After all, a guy shouldn’t have to drive to his own birthday party. It’s to be a night out with the guys. Dinner and drinks.
At least that’s what he thinks.
“Hey, Matt. Jump in. We have to go get Dave at his house.”
“What? Dave’s not ready? Sheesh. How much time does a guy need to throw on a shirt? Well, I guess we might as well come in and wait.”
That’s when Matt turns the corner to wonder why 30 people wearing Mardi Gras beads and pointy hats are packed into the kitchen like sardines in a can.
I confess I teared up a little bit watching Matt try to process the scene. For a moment he looked like a happy zombie. All these people. In one place. Because it’s his birthday and he is our friend.
“Happy Birthday, Matt. Have you ever been on the receiving end of a surprise party before?”
Still a bit stunned by it all, he looks at me like a cow staring at a new gate. “No. I never have.”
Then it’s about time.
When you’re on the receiving end of a surprise party, it takes a bit to register. Then the truth drizzles over you like frosting on a hot cinnamon roll.
I am not alone.
I have friends.
I am loved.
After the hugs and handshakes and everyone settles in with their cake and ice cream, the story unfolds. Whose idea was it? How long have you been planning this? If there’s 30 people here why did I not see any cars out front?
The planning. The preparations. We do it all for the privilege of seeing the micro burst expression on the surprised one’s face. The expression that flows from being overwhelmed by the love of friends.
When you are on the receiving end of a surprise party, you’re humbled to learn how much time and forethought went into it. All for your benefit.
Psalm 139 says, in part, that “God has all our days written down in His book before there was yet one of them.”
It’s not something we often think about. But we should. The God of the universe, the One who hung the stars in the sky and calls them all by name, put time and forethought into our lives. He purposely considered the details of our lives before we existed.
If we’re humbled knowing our buddies spent two weeks planning our birthday party, how should we feel knowing God made plans for our lives before time began?
It’s not a stretch to say God is the ultimate party planner. He wrote all our days down in His book before there was yet one of them (Psalm 139). He promises those plans are for a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He has prepared good works, good plans, in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10) All because God’s desire is that we have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Let that truth drizzle all over you.
You are not alone.
You have friends.
You are loved.
God delights in you.
Todd A. Thompson – toddthompson.net