My God of Surprises

“You are my God of surprises. You really are!”
– Father Mychal Judge, as spoken in prayer

Recently, a friend was wondering aloud to me why she is so consistently amazed and surprised by God’s responses to her prayers. She wondered why she continues to doubt that God will come through for her, when all that He has ever done (when she has asked and remained open to His will) has been to respond to her requests by blessing her with inner peace and clarity. She was clearly frustrated that she continues to doubt.

What came to me while I was responding to her were two things. The first is that I do the same exact thing. Even after all the times God has given me exactly what I have needed, I still sometimes doubt that He will come through. The second is that our doubt may exist simply because our human brains cannot comprehend anything beyond our human experiences. Our human experiences have often been about being disappointed by others. While human relationships are wonderful and often serve to build our self-esteem and sense of community, they are also filled with disappointment. All human beings are flawed and it is impossible for us to not disappoint each other. Because disappointment is an inevitable part of all the relationships we have ever known in our lives, perhaps we place that same expectation on God, our non-human Father.

Later on that same day, I watched the documentary about Father Mychal Judge entitled “The Saint of 9/11”, which is narrated by the superb Ian McKellen. During that film, as Ian spoke the words of several different prayers that Mychal had jotted in notebooks and calendars here and there amongst his belongings were the words, “You are my God of surprises. You really are!” As I listened to those words, a huge smile crossed my lips and I thought of the conversation with my friend that morning. Even Mychal was surprised by God – he really was! What came to me was a characteristic response of Mychal’s that I have read over and over again in both biographies of his life: “How marvelous!”

How marvelous of You, God,
to surprise me once again.


Father Mychal Judge in his NYFD dress blues.


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