“What on earth?”
It’s a favorite expression of a couple friends, and with a variety of things recently happening in the news and personal lives, I’ve heard it often. It frequently accompanies situations that surprise us.
But are we surprised—really?
Should we be?
Maybe we get the expression wrong. If we’re surprised by something happening, and we use the phrase “What on earth?,” the surprise is rarely a pleasant one. So, why are we surprised? Isn’t earth where the majority of the mess happens? I don’t mean as opposed to other planets, but I’m comparing what happens in this life on earth versus eternal, heavenly happenings. Why are we really ever surprised of what’s happening here on earth, in the temporary, working to get it right, struggling with the choices of the world?
I wish we could turn “what in heaven” into a more popular phrase, expressing a pleasant surprise.
I wish we were pleasantly surprised more often.
We need to be realistic about what’s actually going on around us, but do we get too focused on what’s wrong? If there’s a ton going on around us that’s wrong, shouldn’t the stuff that is positive stand out a bit more? Couldn’t we call attention to it more often? It might be sad that we’re surprised by the goodness, but at least there is goodness around and within us. We can call out the bad stuff while still being attentive and highlighting some of the good stuff.
We can see the evil and wrong in the world while seeing God’s purpose and intention of goodness in eternity.
We can bring “on earth as it is in heaven.” At least, some of the time.