It had been a long time since Horace Walpole smiled. Too long. Life for him had become as drab as the weather in dreary old England. Then, on a grim winter day in 1754, while reading a Persian fairy tale, his smile returned. He wrote his longtime friend, Horace Mann, telling him of the "thrilling approach to life" he had discovered from the folk tale.
The ancient tale told of three princes from the island of Ceylon who set out on a pursuit of great treasures. They never found that for which they searched, but en route they were continually surprised by delights they had never anticipated. While looking for one thing, they found another.
The original name of Ceylon was Serendip, which explains the title of this story - "The Three Princes of Serendip." From that, Walpole coined the wonderful word "serendipity." And from then on, his most significant and valued experiences were those that happened to him while he was least expecting them.
Serendipity occurs when something beautiful breaks into the monotonous and the mundane. A serendipitous life is marked by "surprisability" and spontaneity. When we lose our capacity for either, we settle into life's ruts. We expect little and we're seldom disappointed.
Though I have walked with God for several decades, I must confess I still find much about Him incomprehensible and mysterious. But this much I know. He delights in surprising us. He dots our pilgrimage from earth to heaven with amazing serendipities.
Isaiah's words make me smile every time I read them because I have seen their truth come to pass time and time again. God still stands behind this promise:
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19)
Your situation may be as hot and barren as a desert or as forlorn and meaningless as a wasteland. You may be tempted to think, "There's no way!" when someone suggests things could change. All I ask is that you read that verse one more time and be on the lookout. God may very well be planning a serendipity in your life.
God has been doing "a new thing" in drab deserts and wintry wastelands for centuries.