My wife and I spent this past weekend with 13 teenagers on a Peer Ministry Retreat at a camp in East Troy, Wisconsin. This was our 8th year doing this retreat and we really enjoy watching the teens as they learn important leadership skills and deepen their relationship with God. We always stress to them the importance of making time for prayer in their busy lives, and I always share this story with them.
A few years back while on this same retreat, I decided to do my Sunday morning prayers down by the lake. It was a misty, calm morning as I sat myself down on the little wooden pier. I pulled out my Liturgy of the Hours and began praying out loud. At a certain point, I began freely talking with God about some things that were going on in my life at the time. I verbally placed my intentions before the Lord hoping for some direction and guidance. Suddenly, I noticed movement from deep beneath the murky waters, and slowly emerged a very large turtle. His head peered out of the water and it was looking directly at me. I was completely caught by surprise. It felt like God appeared before me right when I needed him during my prayer. After a brief moment of eye contact between each other, the turtle returned to the depths of the lake.
Our God surprises us so many times during our lives, but we’re often so preoccupied with life that we often miss it. Sometimes we’re asked to put out our boat one more time, to try again, to go outside our comfort zone and take a chance. But how often do we react like Simon Peter and say that we’re not worthy of such blessings, that we’re not worthy of such love? We need to trust in the Lord and not be afraid, for he made us out of love and wants what’s best for us. And if we do, the rewards will be amazing.
May the Lord bless and fill your life with his mercy, his unending love, and with many surprises.