What if you were sitting on your porch in the shade on a sultry hot day (thought you'd like the paradox on this cold wintry day) sipping a nice cold lemonade and God walked up the driveway?
That's essentially what happened to Abraham in Genesis 18:1. Minding his own business, sitting in the shade of the door of his tent during the hottest part of the day, and suddenly God walks into his life.
Here is what I love about this 'surprise' encounter that Abraham has with God. He recognizes Him right away. Wouldn't it be great if we would always recognize our God and sense His presence when he makes His way into our personal lives. Sometimes I fear that God is waiting on the sidewalk just beyond our front porch for us to wave or acknowledge Him in some way, engage in conversation with Him, and we look right past at all the activity that's going on beyond and we don't even see Him there. Lord help me to always recognize and be aware of your presence in my life.
Here's the next thing I like. When Abraham recognizes that God and his friends are at his house...he immediately springs into action. He sees to it that their feet are washed and that Sarah gets busy baking bread. He gets the finest meat from his flock and has it prepared for them. Essentially, he gives God his very best. That's what our God deserves. Our very best. Unfortunately, that isn't what He always gets, is it? Maybe we get so 'comfortable' in our relationship with Him that we forget to put the kind of effort into it that we once did? Kind of like a married couple who start to grow apart and the romance begins to fade. After a while its like the other person is there but that's all. Our relationship with God can get like that...taken for granted. It can get 'ho-hum' and normal and part of the routine to the point that we really aren't giving it our best any longer. Like Abraham, as we live with the awareness of God's presence and activity in our lives, it should always be a reminder for us to give our very best to Him.
It is in this kind of relationship that we can be free to share openly and honestly with a God who loves us and is concerned with the things that concern us. Abraham felt comfortable enough in God's presence to 'speak his mind' about Sodom and Gomorrah and to challenge God to spare it for the sake of even ten righteous people in those cities. And it's kind of amusing how God carries on the conversation knowing full well that even ten did not exist. That's the beauty of our relationship with God. Even when we have no idea what we're talking about, God listens and cares about what we're saying. Then He does what He knows is best for us and for the bigger picture of His kingdom.
So watch for these 'surprise God encounters' in your life. And be ready. Always do your best for Him and cultivate the special kind of relationship with God that prepares you for the moment when God walks up your driveway on a hot sunny day...or into your family room as you huddle around the fireplace on a cold one!