Surprised by God

I’m grateful to be a part of the GCD Writer’s Guild where each week we are presented with a writing prompt and a word count. The genre can be whatever you like. This week’s prompt was “Surprised by God” and the word count was 600.


I’m often caught off guard by the grace of God, much like a man who finds a treasure buried in the middle of nowhere, in the place he least expects it to be. But I wonder if that man had to dig as many empty holes as I have. Were his hands as stained and calloused as mine are? Were his muscles sore and did his bones ache like mine do? Did the sun beat down on his brow day after day, threatening to scorch away the last drop of persistence he had in him?

I’m often caught off guard by just how silly those wandering thoughts are. Of course that man didn’t suffer like I have. He was probably given a map or a sign, perhaps there was even a big red “X” marking the spot for him to drive his shovel. I bet the earth was soft, too. Not like this hardened clay that I have to punch through every single day. He probably had a big shovel. I have this rusted spade.

I’m often caught off guard by the grace of God, much like a man who finds a treasure buried in the middle of nowhere, in the place he least expects it to be. My shovel has hit wood far more often than it should, perhaps more than his did. The back of my neck isn’t sunburned thanks to how often I find shade, perhaps his skin was cracked and peeled. I can look back at his story and find the resolve to continue, but what did he have to look back on?

I’m often caught off guard by just how silly those wandering thoughts are. That man wasn’t even real—just a nameless figure in a fake story. A parable is supposed to convey some deeper spiritual truth, but here I am digging like a fool, chipping away at rock and stone, desperate for water and greedy for gain. There’s nothing spiritual at all about this, why else would it hurt so bad? What do that man and I have anything to do with each other? He’s not like me, he can’t help me.

I’m often caught off guard by the grace of God, much like a man who finds a treasure buried in the middle of nowhere, in the place he least expects it to be. You know, there’s probably much more that man and I have in common after all. We both know what it’s like to make the barter of a lifetime, to be laughed at by everyone around us thinking we’ve gone mad, that we’re squandering away our livelihood for a metaphorical pie in an allegorical sky. But we both know what’s out there. He knew it then, and I know it now.

I’m often caught off guard by the rain when it comes, relieving my arms and back from the burning of the sun. I’m often caught off guard by the other travelers I see along the way, hauling their hard won prizes on their backs, strangely skipping along despite how massive their treasure chests are. I’m often caught off guard by the strong wind that keeps me from leaving this field, no matter how badly I want to, like Something wants to keep me here. I’m often caught off guard by the scenery, which, as I survey it now, is much more lush than I previously realized.

I’m often caught off guard by the grace of God, much like a man who finds treasure buried in the middle of nowhere, in the place he least expects it to be.


Photo by Tommy Lisbin on Unsplash