Unseen things

One of my favorite things in life is when the unseen things are finally seen- when surprises are revealed and things that were once hidden are discovered.  Costa Rica was full of such wondrous surprises.  They were lurking behind leaves and concealed around corners- surprises just waiting to be noticed and marveled at.

For instance, one might look at a tree and see only a tree.  But if you really looked at it, really studied its branches, you would find this guy:

Or you might wander along the coast so enamored by the tide pools:

that you wouldn’t even notice this fella and his friends frolicking in the nearby trees:

While in Costa Rica, my friends and I learned to look for these unseen things, to strain our eyes and crane our necks, expecting to be surprised by the unexpected.  I think this is how God might want us to live.  You know, expecting the unexpected, waiting and hoping for God to blow our socks off.  And boy did He.

He surprised around every corner, so we learned to love the corners.  When we went on a 10 hour drive we never were bored because A) we had walkie talkies B) we told riddles and played 20 questions and C) we knew there could be something marvelous just waiting for us around the next bend.  So we looked expectantly around each bend in the road:

and were rewarded with the discovery of these massive ancient stones planted in random front yards:

and views like this:

We explored the coastline:

where we discovered mysterious hidden stairways…

that led to private lagoons:

We didn’t know what to expect as we rode horses down the beach

and through the rainforest

but we kept our eyes open wide in wonder.  And when we turned corners, we were met with toucans and monkeys and rivers.

Later we floated down a quiet, peaceful river:

where we’d paddle around the bend and find ourselves in the midst of roaring rapids:

and scenes like this:This is Trent’s, “This is one of the coolest waterfalls I’ve ever seen” expression.

Probably the most obvious example of the unseen finally being seen and being awesome happened when we went snorkeling.  The view above the water was certainly quite nice:

But once we dove under, 

we discovered a whole new world; a world with massive schools of fish rushing past our faces and sea turtles floating by; a world home to creatures like this:

a reef sharks like this:

Of course not all the unseen surprises under the sea were pleasant.  Teri certainly wasn’t smiling when the unseen jellyfish stung her back and her butt:

But it was a surprise, nonetheless, when we popped our heads up to find her screaming that she was shaking.  And it was really hard not to laugh when our guide simply told her it was a jellyfish sting then dove back under the water. Indeed some unexpected surprises are painful for some while hilarious for others.

A surprise we all enjoyed, however, happened when we simply stepped out onto our front deck.  One evening this was the view from our house:

But then the next morning we awoke to this:

Isn’t crazy what is sometimes hidden behind the fog?

Costa Rica was a constant reminder that God is a God of beauty and surprises.  He knows what is behind the fog.  He’s aware of what’s around the corner or under the water or beyond where our eyes can see.  He is a God of the unseen; a God who asks us to trust Him, to walk by faith rather than sight and believe that even when we can’t see Him working or don’t understand His ways, He is ALWAYS at work and His purposes are ALWAYS good.

Armed with such knowledge, we can live lives of hopeful expectation, confident that God is controlling the unseen and expecting Him to surprise us and work in ways we can’t even imagine.  I fear that we miss so much of what God is doing and what He has for us simply because we aren’t looking.  And if we’d simply stop and open our eyes and be a little patient, He’ll bring us to places like this:

to watch sunsets like this:

so we can join with all creation and say, “Wow, He really is wonderful.”

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