When you grow older in the Christian life you are regularly knocked down in the dust astounded and amazed, only to rise up in doxology and praise as you see glimpses of God’s footsteps pressed upon you through the path of your life. The fullness of God’s ways are way past our ability to trace. And that’s part of the challenge and the thrill of the Christian life. You can trust him fully even when you can’t see him clearly.
That’s why I have always loved William Cowper’s great hymn, “Light Shining Out of Darkness”. It is the one we usually know as “God moves in a mysterious way.”
Firstly it is because God moved in a most mysterious way in his life. The poor man was suicidal at times and his dear friend John Newton saved his life on more than one occasion. And yet in the cauldron of all that the footsteps of God were marching through his life that enabled him to write lines that brought comfort, wisdom, insight and hope and blessing to countless millions of Christians. The man never knew it in his lifetime.
God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.
Notice how William Cowper knew Psalm 77: He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill he treasures up his bright designs, and works his sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.
And then there’s this:
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace; behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.
Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan his work in vain;
And then there’s this, get this:
God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain.