Voices from the Past

Reprinted by permission from Believer’s Magazine, February, 1902

“God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

Long years ago, one who knew much of the Divine discipline and who had learned that the way of the Lord is in “the deep waters,” wrote,

“God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform.”

All who “observe these things” and seek thereby to “understand the loving-kindness of the Lord” (Ps 107:43) find that fresh discoveries of His wonder-working power are still made known. The Word is full of this “mysterious way” of our God. Everywhere we see His hand out-working what His heart has planned, often using the most unexpected instruments. Yes, He even causes the wrath of man and the hate of demons to work out His ends and bring untold blessing to His people. A few instances of this “mysterious way” of our God may strengthen faith to trust Him, even when we cannot trace His way. Joseph was hated by his brethren, sold to strangers, and carried as a bondman to Egypt. All this seems wholly evil; a chain of heartless, godless deeds, without a redeeming feature. Yet, in after years, when in “God’s mysterious way” the wonder of preserving alive his famine-stricken brethren had been performed, he tells them what he had long ago learned in the experiences of his own soul from that dark deed. “It was not you that sent me hither, but God” (Gen 45:8). Yes, God allowed the natural envy of his brethren’s hearts, to become the instrument of working out His sovereign will.

The edict of Pharaoh, that Israel’s male children should perish in the Nile, was a work of the enemy to overturn the purposes of the Most High. But what then? A rescued babe, nourished in Pharaoh’s own palace, skilled as he could not elsewhere have been in all the wisdom of Egypt, became, under God’s mysterious handiwork, the deliverer of His people from their bitter bondage, and their leader out from that land which he by faith had himself in earlier years surrendered. Here again, we surely see the handiwork of God, Who in His own mysterious and sovereign way, calls into action whatsoever He thinks fit to perform “His wonders,” and fulfill His purposes of blessing to His own.

But we need not pursue this story further in these minor scenes and histories, instructive and delightful as they are. The Cross is the great exhibition of this principle. Surely, the hand of God appeared in wonder-working power there as nowhere else. It was by “wicked hands” that the Holy One of God was nailed to the shameful tree. Envy and hatred burned in priest and ruler, as they hurried Him on to Golgotha. Yet that dark deed, as we are told, was but the fulfilling of “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). God was there working in His own “mysterious way,” and performing the greatest of all His wonders, of which the half has not yet been told. And this wonder-working God is our God; more, He is our Father, and loves us with a Father’s love. His heart is ours as well as His hand. He always does the very best for the objects of His love, however contrary things may seem for the moment. Of this we may rest assured even in the midst of the tempest and the whirlwind – the day of faith’s deepest trial. If the fiery furnace is part of His plan, why should we shrink back from entering it. There is a “need be” for its flame, and out of it – if faith fail not – we shall come “purified, made white, and tried,” with lowlier thoughts of ourselves, a truer knowledge of God, and a riper experience of His goodness. Oh, to have confidence, unquestioning confidence, in God; to trust Him even where we cannot trace Him; to say, “I will trust and not be afraid,” even when His way is in the deep waters. “Satisfied the way He leadeth must be always best.” Our God makes no mistakes. He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will,” and we may rest assured that “all things work together for good” to His people. The knowledge of this gives rest and assurance that the results of His holy discipline, whatever the instruments He uses to effect it may be, will be untold blessing and fully ripened fruit, in all who are exercised thereby. “All His paths drop fatness.”

“His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain,
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.”