Don’t you love it when God gives us a surprise that we could never have planned or imagined? I am sure we can all think of times when God blessed us in an unexpected way.
One of my favorite personal stories is what happened to my book, The House in the Middle of Town. No—it didn’t win an award or end up on the best sellers list. It’s much better than that!
Here’s the story: The picture book was published by Standard Publishing House in the fall of 2007. It fit with their 2008 vacation Bible school theme of loving your neighbor, which is why they decided to publish it. Standard planned to promote it along with their Bible school curriculum materials early 2008. It was all set and ready to go when the vacation Bible school programs began. I was so excited when I thought about the little children all over the country who might be listening to their Bible school teacher read the story to them.
Then came the surprise. In July of that summer, the Extreme Make Over Home Edition people were working on a “house in the middle of town” for a young Christian family in Cincinnati, Ohio. Guess where Standard Publishing House is located—yep— Cincinnati, Ohio. So one of the marketing persons from Standard went to the site and gave a book to the ABC producer. She asked the producer if they could donate some books to the volunteers who were working on the house. The producer said she would read the book and let her know.
One of the verses in the book goes like this: These are my neighbors who worked very hard, to fix up the house and clean up the yard. Tired and dirty, we’re glad that we came, to help out a grandma in Jesus’ name.
So the gal from Standard left and figured once the producer came across the name of Jesus, that would be an automatic NO. Well here’s the surprise: She said YES!
On the evening before the family comes back to their new home, the community gives the volunteers a big party (I didn’t know that—we don’t see that part on the TV show). Many local businesses contribute food and beverages, etc. So a few of the good folks from Standard went to the party with several cases of books. They gave away 1000 copies of The House in the Middle of Town. Even Ty Pennington got a copy! How cool is that!
Since that wonderful event, the book still has not made the best sellers list, and it has not received an award. But 1000 people have a book that tells them why we are supposed to love our neighbor—we do it in the name of Jesus!
Here’s to experiencing God’s surprises!