MR BEAN – AND GOD’S MYSTERIOUS WAYS

Robert and Maureen McQuillan remind us that we don’t know everything … but that God does! 

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 to certain prayers? Or did you conclude that it’s better to appreciate and enjoy the benefits than to query God about His ways? 

We forget that God is God! 
The reality is that often we get 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 outside 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, hallelujah … He’s also the heavenly Father who loves us so much that He does sometimes kindly  explain things – as in (Genesis 18:17NLT, ‘”Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked’). 

The penny drops!
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.’

And with both humility and joy, we say a grateful ‘Thank You. Lord.’ 

Those are the times when the revelation about God becomes a blessed reality to our hearts and minds. Take, for example, that well-known, often-quoted, ‘framed wall verse’ Jeremiah 29:11Mge, and its revelation of – ‘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.’

Now then… 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, your God

Saved by a ‘God sent’ fog! 
So many people – even non-Christians – are familiar with the opening line of William Cowper‘s popular  hymn: ‘God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.’  

Would you believe Cowper wrote it almost 250 years ago, in 1773? This often-quoted line comes from Light Shining Out of Darkness, reportedly the last hymn he wrote, with a fascinating story behind it… 

It’s a great hymn… but from a Christian who had often struggled with depression and doubt.

One dark night, it’s been suggested, William Cowper 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.  

Exasperated after driving around lost for some time the cabby finally stopped and let Cowper out. To the poet/hymnodist’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! 

Interestingly, the first line of his hymn has become an adage, or saying, frequently used to justify unfortunate or inexplicable events, and is referenced in many literary works, even in movies. 

Sometimes it seems we are in a fog regarding our mysterious God. We can so easily link that 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!’ 

A mysterious God indeed 
Isaiah 55:8NIV also comes to mind… ‘“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.’

  • We like how NLT version puts it: ‘”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.’ 

But 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.  

When one really mediates on this, we can but conclude that it’s a good thing after all… for He alone really knows all things past, present and future. Our solutions could prove wrong and get us into deep trouble, whereas God declares that He definitely has good plans for us that will prove beneficial (Jeremiah 29:11 above). 

So… don’t you agree? 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. And so… it’s always best to allow Him to work things out His way in answering our prayers or queries. 

The ‘musterion’ God
‘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 (Romans 16:25)   
  • God’s hidden wisdom (1Corinthians 2:7)  
  • Christians not ‘dying at death’ but being changed (1Corinthians 15:5)   
  • God’s will (Ephesians 1:9)  
  • Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32)  
  • The gospel (Ephesians 6:19)  
  • Its riches and glory (Colossians1:27)  
  • Sin (iniquity wickedness, anarchy, lawlessness) currently at work (2 Thessalonians 2:7) 
  • Faith (1Timothy 3:9)  
  • Godliness (1Timothy 3:16). 

Reality: As we journey through life, following and trusting Jesus, we need the wisdom of the creative God who knows everything! 
 
1Corinthians 2:7Mge declares, ‘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.’ 

Trusting God can mean ‘No asking questions’
Easter is around the corner… next month! But recall now with joy that God’s love is always there for us… He’s the loving heavenly Father who sent His Son Jesus to reveal His amazing love and concern (John 3:16). 

Yes, it’s a huge, incredible mystery – but we can think of it as God’s 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 for details). 

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. 

Let’s just trust God that He’ll answer our prayers as He sees fit… because He knows best!

Of course, we must keep on praying… 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 Paul’s admonition of 1Thessalions 5:17NLT, ‘Never stop praying.’ 

In closing, a Big Wallop from Little Wallop
Oh… just remembered that we’ve mentioned the lovable Mr Bean in the title of this article.

That was to get your attention. We were thinking not of  Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean but his classic role of keynote speaker Reverend Walter Goodfellow, vicar of Little Wallop and his intriguing speech to a ministers’ conference which says best what we said above about God’s mysteriousness – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwkgGPvClF4 .  

A good friend has commented: ‘Better than a lot of sermons that I’ve heard!’ 

Our own, closing, comment then? 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 was suddenly mesmerised by a revelation of grace and said pointedly, ‘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!

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Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s links are
OnlinerConnect@gmail.com and Facebook (Scripture/other emphases in this Onliner ours. Appreciated images/pics: various general sources available for reuse under creative commons have been used in good faith and not for profit).
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