Experienced those moments when we want to ask God, ‘Why?’ or ‘What’s going on?’ or ‘How come you answered my prayer as you did, not how I had prayed and expected?’
Did you get an answer? Or did you come to the conclusion that it’s better to appreciate and enjoy the benefits than to query God about his ways?
God is God!
The reality is that often we’re so caught up with asking (in faith and trust which is good and necessary, of course!) and expecting God to bring about the answer exactly how we asked. And we forget that he is God who sees everything beyond the box and knows what the best course of action should be!
Yes…he is God – almighty God! God full stop! As such he doesn’t have to explain anything – we’re merely his creation.
But …he’s also the heavenly Father who loves us so much that he does at times explain things – as in (Genesis 18:17NLT, ‘”Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked’).
However many times we humans will simply never understand his reasons for outworking things as he does. But often later on we’ll reflect on events and with eyes opening wide as the penny drops, no doubt we’ll smile and quietly acknowledge, ‘Aha, Lord…that’s why you worked it the way you did. Thank you.’
Those are the times when God’s revelation in Jeremiah 29:11Mge – ‘I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for’ becomes a blessed reality to our hearts and minds.
Reflection moment: Think about some mysterious answers to your prayers. Aren’t you glad that the almighty omniscient God who sees and knows everything (1 John 3:20) is our God?
An old adage
So many people – even many non-Christians – are familiar with the opening lines of William Cowper‘s popular hymn written way back in 1773: ‘God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.’
It’s from Light Shining Out of Darkness, reportedly the last hymn Cowper wrote, with a fascinating story behind it…
The background is that the poet/hymnodist often struggled with depression and doubt. It’s been suggested that one night he decided to commit suicide by drowning himself. Calling a cab he told the driver to take him to the Thames River. However, thick fog came down and prevented them from finding the London river.
After driving around lost for a while, the cabby finally stopped and let Cowper out. To Cowper’s surprise, he found himself on his own doorstep: It seemed that God had sent the fog to keep him from killing himself. Even in our blackest moments, God watches over us, he thought!
The first line of his hymn has become an adage, or saying, used to justify unfortunate or inexplicable events, and is referenced in many literary works.
Sometimes it seems we’re in a fog regarding our mysterious God. We can so easily link this adage with Romans 11:33NLT, ‘Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!’
Isaiah 55:8NIV also comes to mind … ‘”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.’ The NLT version puts it this way, ‘”My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’”
The Message rendition is even more intriguing: ‘I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.’
Whichever version we read, we sense intrigue, a certain mysteriousness about our God – the great creative one who does things his way, not necessarily as we hope and expect, even when we pray most sincerely and believingly.
And that’s a good thing after all, for he knows all things past, present and future. Our solutions could prove wrong and get us into deep trouble, whereas God declares he definitely has good plans for us that will prove beneficial (Jeremiah 29:11 above).
Yes, there’s definitely a mystery about our omniscient (all-knowing) God and regarding his ways – the how/why/when of his response to our prayers and situations – which outwork to our blessing. But, ultimately, it’s always best to allow him to work things out his way in answering our prayers or queries.
A mysterious God indeed
‘Mystery’ is musterion or ‘secret.’ It’s used twenty-two times in scripture, for example… the mystery of –
- The kingdom (Mark 4:11)
- Its hidden secret, now made known (Rom. 16:25)
- God’s hidden wisdom (1 Cor. 2:7)
- Christians not ‘dying at death’ but being changed (1Cor. 15:5)
- God’s will (Eph. 1:9)
- Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32)
- The gospel (Eph. 6:19)
- Its riches and glory (Col. 1:27)
- Sin (iniquity wickedness, anarchy, lawlessness) currently at work (2 Thes. 2:7)
- Faith (1 Tim. 3:9)
- Godliness (1 Tim. 3:16).
As we journey through life, we need the wisdom of the creative God who knows everything!
1Corinthians 2:7Mge is good on this: ‘God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest – what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene.’
Need God’s blessing of wisdom, guidance and grace?
Remember God’s love is always there for us…he’s the loving heavenly Father who sent his Son Jesus to reveal this amazing love and concern (John 3:16).
It’s a mystery – we think of it as grace. Decades ago a visiting missionary speaking to a large group of children, held up his hand and counted off on fingers and thumb …G-R-A-C-E. Then he said clearly enunciated: ‘What is grace? God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense!’
Simple but effective declaration! Want to learn more about the depths of God’s grace? We recommend Dr Jim McClure’s well-researched diamond of a book on the subject – Grace Revisited – see his Teaching category link below for free offer.
God may not always answer our prayers as we expect – or explain why. But we can be thankful that his grace is always available to everyone who has genuinely repented of sin and accepted Christ as Saviour.
Time to stop asking questions and to trust
Let’s just trust God that he’ll answer our prayers as he sees fit because he knows best! Yet we must keep on asking as Paul encourages in Philippians 4:6, ‘Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.’ Also 1Thessalions 5:17NLT, ‘Never stop praying.’
Perhaps keynote speaker Reverend Walter Goodfellow, vicar of Little Wallop (Rowan Atkinson in a classic role!) says it best – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwkgGPvClF4 .
We put this ‘Big Wallop from Little Wallop’ on Facebook last week, bringing immediate good responses…our highly creative graphics friend Allan Weatherall is a thinker and commented: ‘Better than a lot of sermons that I’ve heard!’ (See link below).
As stated at this article’s’ beginning: It’s better to appreciate and enjoy the benefits than to query God about his ways. Let’s be grateful that our big God cares about little us.
Reverend Goodfellow is suddenly mesmerised by a revelation of grace and says, ‘A little of God’s grace … (meaningful pause) … and our problems seem to fade away… (another pause)…Now why should we demand an explanation from our Lord?’
This is followed by his own matter-of-fact thoughts on what God means in Isaiah 55:8 – ‘I’m mysterious, folks – live with it!’
Brilliantly put, Reverend Goodfellow!
(Scripture emphases ours). Links: Jim McClure’s Teaching question – https://connectingwithyou.net/2016/06/02/what-on-earth-is-happening-in-the-world-june-2-2016/ . Allan Weatherall’s Facebook comments on his own recent experience of God moving in mysterious ways to bless – https://www.facebook.com/allan.d.weatherall