Surprised by God

Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash

Have you ever read a book where God showed up in a way you didn't expect? 

Let me explain. I'm currently coming to the end of a dystopian novel called A Boy and His Dog at the end of the World, a long title, I know. It's bleak as many of these novels are, there's a smattering of swearing, and a couple of major wince inducing scenes - you'll develop a whole new respect for honey! -  but there's also, like in The Stand by Stephen King, glimpses of light. 

The boy, called Griz, is one of a handful of people left in the world. As he say's in the introduction 'I've never had friends, and in my whole life I've not met enough people to play a game of football.' 

Now I can't reveal too much, as the author - C. A. Fletcher - writes, before you even get started A note on spoilers It would be a kindness to other readers - not to say this author - if the discoveries made as you follow Griz's journey into the ruins of our world remained a bit of a secret between us... So I hope it's okay that I share this tiny bit as I felt it would be perfect for this blog.

At one point in his journey, Griz reaches a house which has a rather large library, and on the shelves is a book whose title caught, not only the author by surprise, but also this reader, and I believe you, because it's called Surprised by Joy. Yes. That classic work by C. S. Lewis. I wouldn't say this book is anti-God but's it's certainly not pro, so I was equally surprised to see this. Now I've never read the book, but I did by it for my dad, who began to read it shortly before he died. It's a shame he hadn't read it sooner, but hey, and in it is a poem, which begins like this:

 Surprised by joy - inpatient as the Wind

I turned to share the transport - Oh! with whom

But thee, long buried in the silent Tomb.

There's a reason why this poem and the title of the book touches Griz, but that would be another spoiler, but what amazed me, is how God just turned up in this book - which I discovered in the English section of a bookshop on my most recent visit to Slovakia - which I didn't expect at all. Wonderfully surprising, especially as at the moment, it's as if my prayers to God are disappearing into thin air - or more to the point, he's working on the answers but not letting me in on what he's doing - so every now and then, he's been dropping me little hints, that he's involved in every single aspect of my life. Which is a little bit freaky but encouraging at the same time.

I'm about 60 pages from the end. Maybe I'll do a sequel to the post when I've finished the book. But for now, all I can say, is do read this book if you can. It's not an easy read at times, but it's certainly a rewarding one. 

I'll end with the dedication that Fletcher writes - which although meant for the midnight swimmers - and all past and present members of the Two O'clock Tea Club - is like a modern day blessing

May your beaches always have fires, dogs and laughter on them, whatever the weather.

Martin is a writer, baker, photographer and storyteller. He's been published in the ACW Christmas anthology and Lent devotional. He's currently honing his craft at flash fiction and you can find him on Twitter here. 

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