In 1773, William Cowper penned these words.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Evergreen, aren’t they? Well, at least the first line is. Quoted and misquoted, God has, as a result, been moving and working in mysterious ways ever since.

Yet, the old saying is true – no smoke without fire. For the humans race to use and misuse this phrase with such regularity, there must be some truth to it. And indeed, when we look at our lives, God really does move and work in mysterious ways.

When we pray, we often never get exactly that which we asked for. He always makes some tweaks along the way. But though our first reaction is to wonder why He didn’t just give as we asked; over time, as the situation plays out, we start to see why, and appreciate the fact that indeed,

““For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”” Isaiah 55:8-9

And when we look in the Bible, we also see that it is much of the same.

When Israel was looking for a champion to battle Goliath, God sent a shepherd boy named David. A gutsy shepherd boy, no doubt; but a shepherd boy nonetheless. And what did he go and meet the giant with? Yes, a sling and five stones; because the armor didn’t fit.

Then when Israel was wondering in the desert and asked for food, instead of settling them fast so that their agricultural routine can be established, He sent birds to feed them with manna and meat. He literally rained food onto them.

And when Gideon was sent to fight the Midianites,

“God said to Gideon, “You have too large an army with you. I can’t turn Midian over to them like this—they’ll take all the credit, saying, ‘I did it all myself,’ and forget about me. Make a public announcement: ‘Anyone afraid, anyone who has any qualms at all, may leave Mount Gilead now and go home.’” Twenty-two companies headed for home. Ten companies were left.” Judges 7:2-3 [MSG]

Who would say such a thing? Can anyone ever have ‘too large’ an army? Yet, this was what God did with Gideon’s 32,000 men.

“God said to Gideon: “I’ll use the three hundred men who lapped at the stream to save you and give Midian into your hands. All the rest may go home.”” Judges 7:7 [MSG]

And this was the size of the force they were up against.

“Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude.” Judges 7:12

But how do you think they responded when they saw the 300?

“The whole Midianite camp jumped to its feet. They yelled and fled.” Judges 7:21 [MSG]

Now, when it comes to deliverance from a tight situation, we cannot forget Daniel and His friends. Remember when Daniel was supposed to be thrown into the lion’s den? God didn’t stop it, did He? And when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were sentenced to burn, God didn’t stop it, did He? Instead, their deliverance came right in the midst of their troubles, right in the midst of the den and the furnace.

And there are so many more examples, aren’t there? When it comes to the inexplicable workings of God, the Bible is replete with them.

But you know what, beloved, of all the mysterious workings of God, there is none more mysterious than this.

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.” Ephesians 1:4 [MSG]

How? Why? Why us? Why focus His love on us? Why settle His love on us?

Think about it. God is all knowing. So He would have known each and every sin of ours, each and every word of ours that would hurt Him. So why would He want to focus His love on us and make us whole and holy?

Also, by virtue of the fact that He has to make us whole and holy implies that He knows that we are going to be broken and unholy. So why bother? Furthermore,

“Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” Ephesians 1:5-6 [MSG]

We are His creation, that we all know. And because of that, we can understand why He would take pains to plan our creation. But after we allowed sin into the world? Why would He not lose hope in us?

And even if you reckon that that was Adam’s fault and not yours, consider then our behavior. How many times have we let Him down? Yet His decision, His desire is still to have us be His children. Why?

Mind you, those were not mere idle words that God uttered. It was not as if He just spoke our adoption into existence. Because we were broken and unholy, someone had to, like Humpty Dumpty, put us back together again and clean us up. Guess who was stuck with that job? And don’t think that it was easy either; for this is the reason why we are whole and holy again.

“Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free!” Ephesians 1:7 [MSG]

Why would anyone do that for us? Would you sacrifice yourself for another? Paying off a fine for a friend, that perhaps I can understand. But would you lay down your life for another?

You know, the beauty of God is also the mystery of God. The more you spend time with Him, the more you allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you and remind you of all the wonderful things that Jesus has taught you, the more you are able to appreciate the extent of His love for you, the more the extent and the motivation behind His love for you becomes a mystery.

But that is exactly why it is so beautiful. Because like children don’t need to understand their parent’s actions, we don’t need to understand our Father’s decisions. We just need to realize that He has always and will always act out of love for us. Indeed, this is true,

“He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.” Ephesians 1:8-10 [MSG]

So if God is doing something mysterious in your life right now; if you can’t understand just what it is that He is doing; relax. It will not make sense now; and it will probably not make sense for a long time to come. But one thing is for sure. All that He does, He is doing out of love for you. Just look forward to the day when it will all be finally revealed in Christ.

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