(August 11), 2020) Life Focus Ministries’ Robert and Maureen McQuillan remind us that God has his mysterious ways…
It’s only natural to wonder what’s going on, not just regarding this pandemic time but about other life issues and incidents. We’re human after all! Our July article I Don’t Know About Tomorrow led to some folk asking, ‘Well, what do you really think about all that’s going on in the world? And win the future of the church – a cleansing time? And what about…?’
Hey… we’re like our state and federal’s leaders: we don’t know everything… but like them we’re concentrating on living one day at a time! With thanks to the Lord for each new God-given day, we commit it to him, asking his blessing and protection – and then get on with it, however the day works out.
But… a question: You ever asked the Lord, ‘Why?’ or ‘What’s going on?’ and didn’t get an answer… or the answer you expected?
And did you ever come to the conclusion that it’s better to appreciate and enjoy the benefits God gives us daily rather than query him about how he works things out? Hmmm?
Worrying? Relax and trust God
Jesus told us (Matthew 6:25NLT), ‘…I tell you not to worry about everyday life.’ And, verse 29, he asked a question, ‘Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?’ Of course not!
- We tend to be so anxious about a lot of life issues… including the future. Yet Jesus advised in Matthew 6:34, ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ Seems that Jesus is saying ‘Hey… get on with today. Concentrate on it, deal with today with worrying!’
- We also like Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:6-8Message – ‘Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.’
Both Jesus and Paul are talking good sense here… to rest in God regarding our ‘todays and tomorrows.’ So, in praying let’s praise God for his greatness and goodness… and believe for the best, not the worst!
But… remember that we may not always get answers that we want from God! In 2 Corinthians 12:7-8 Paul talked about this happening to him… repeatedly asking he got an unexpected response – God’s answer: ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need’ (v9).
Stop questioning so much!
Yes, sometimes God’s answer to our questions may not be what we expected, may even seem mysterious to us, and we must trust him! His answer to Paul that his grace was sufficient was enough to carry the apostle onward and upward. In verse 10 of this Corinthians chapter (Message) he declares his new attitude ‘I just let Christ take over!’
Whether we get the answers we’re after or not – or his answers are strange or mysterious, or can’t be fully understood at the time, we too need to let God take over.
Keynote speaker of a ministers’ conference, Reverend Walter Goodfellow, vicar of Little Wallop (Rowan Atkinson’s classic role!*) gives an answer as he states… ‘But, in the end, what all this comes down to is how we deal in life with the problems we have to face.’
And as he gives some logical suggestions, he is suddenly mesmerised by a revelation of this mysterious God’s grace and hesitantly states, ‘Sometimes all it takes is 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?’
Quietly but seriously Reverend Goodfellow then suggests, ‘Well, I don’t think the good Lord wants us to question too much’ and quotes Isaiah 55:8, ‘My ways are not your ways.’ In closing he leans forward and softly gives matter-of-fact thoughts on what he thinks God means here – ‘I’m mysterious, folks – live with it!’
Always trust God
God is the almighty omniscient God who sees and knows everything (1 John 3:20)! As such he doesn’t have to explain anything – we’re merely his creation. Seeing everything beyond the box God knows what the best course of action should be! But we can be so often caught up with asking and expecting God to bring about the answer exactly how we asked.
We humans will simply never understand all of God’s 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, we’ll smile and quietly acknowledge, ‘Aha, Lord…that’s why you worked it the way you did. Thank you.’
Jeremiah 29:11Mge is comforting – ‘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.’
What a blessed reality to our hearts and minds. Aren’t you glad that this is your God… even if it seems that sometimes there are some mysterious, foggy answers to your prayers?
‘Protected by a fog
Even many non-Christians are familiar with the opening line from the Light Shining Out of Darkness hymn composed by William Cowper way back in 1773 – ‘God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.’
There’s a mysterious story behind it…Cowper often struggled with depression and doubt. It’s been suggested that one night he decided to commit suicide by drowning himself and told a cabby to take him to the Thames River. However, thick fog came down and prevented them from finding the 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, Cowper thought!
Sometimes it seems we’re in a fog regarding our mysterious God. We can so easily link that Cowper’s thoughts 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 55:8NLT reads, ‘”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, there’s 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.
- 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.
- Ultimately, it’s always best to allow him to work things out his way in answering our prayers or questions.
A mysterious God, full of grace
‘Mystery’ is musterion – ‘secret.’ It’s used twenty-two times in scripture, for example… the mystery of God’s ‘hidden’ wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:7); faith (1 Timothy 3:9)…
In journeying through life, we need the wisdom of the creative God who knows everything! 1 Corinthians 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 … what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene.’
The loving heavenly Father who sent his Son Jesus to reveal this amazing love and concern (John 3:16) is always there for us! It’s a mystery – we think of it as ‘grace.’ Decades ago a visiting missionary speaking to a large group of youngsters 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 yes: there’s more to it than that… but an effective declaration – it touched our young hearts! Want to learn more about the depths of God’s grace? We recommend Bible teacher Dr Jim McClure’s well-researched diamond on the subject, Grace Revisited**.
- God may not always answer our prayers as we expect – nor explain why.
- But we can be thankful that his grace is always available to all who has genuinely repented of sin, accepting Christ as Saviour.
- Let’s live each day for him, trusting him and helping others!
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s links are firstname.lastname@example.org and Facebook (Scripture/other emphases in this Onliner ours. Appreciated images/pics: various general sources). Links **Grace Revisited: email@example.com / Carol Round’s Chasing-the-Wind / *Big wallop from Little Wallop / Brian Bell’s Finding a Helping Hand