Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In Part 1, I spoke about this theme of God moving in a mysterious way, which actually comes from the pen of William Cowper who wrote the hymn way way back in the 18th century. It says there that:
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
So, we often say that—I heard that said even in a joking way. But also in the Bible the Prophet Isaiah teaches us about the majesty and mystery of God. In Isaiah 55:8-9 we read:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
A picture of man
His thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. But the very fact that we can even talk about God is amazing. In his book Miracles, C. S. Lewis compares our human talk about God to shellfish talking to each other about humans. If a mystical shellfish catches a glimpse of what a human is like, he will attempt to share his vision with his fellow clams.
He begins by telling them how unlike themselves humans are. Humans have no shells, like clams; they aren’t attached to rocks; and they do not live surrounded by water. Those three dynamics, shells, rocks, and water are important to clams, so the clam begins to have a negative image of a human.
Uncorrected by any positive insight, they build up a picture of Man as a sort of amorphous jelly (no shell) existing nowhere in particular (no rocks); and never eating (because there’s no water to bring nutrients to him). So the shellfish would conclude that man is a ‘famished jelly existing in a dimension less void.’
Lewis says in the same way our human limitations prevent us from thinking and talking correctly about God. That’s why God reveals himself to us in the Bible. And the Bible says while God is majestic and mysterious, we can seek him and know him. We are to seek him while he may be found, to call on him while he is near. This implies there will be a time when he may not be found, and when he will not be near. God is not playing some kind of cosmic hide ‘n seek. He wants to have a love relationship with you.
Right now, he can be found—that’s why you must seek him and get to know him on a personal level today. Do you really know God? You may know about God, and you may even know what the Bible says, but that’s not the same as knowing God. The only way you will get to know God is by spending quality time with him in prayer and Bible study.
Unlocking the mysteries of life
It was the summer of 1967, and a young girl named Joni was riding horses near a bay. She decided to go for a swim and she dove into the shallow water, breaking her neck on a submerged rock. At first, Joni had a hard time reconciling her accident with the idea of a loving God. She was angry, demanding to know why this had happened to her.
One day a friend told her, “Jesus knows how you feel. He was paralysed. He couldn’t move or change position on the cross. He was paralysed by the nails.” Joni began to understand God is a God of love, even when tragedy strikes in our lives. Today, God is using Joni Eareckson Tada to touch others.
She once received a letter from an angry young man who had been in an accident. He was bitter at God for allowing him to suffer. He had written to Joni asking the big question: Why? After relating some of her own feelings of bitterness and questioning, Joni wrote:
If God decided to explain all His ways to me, what makes me think I would be able to understand them? It would be like pouring million-gallon truths into my one-ounce brain. Didn’t one Old Testament author write, “As you do not know the path of the wind, or … how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)?
In fact, the whole book of Ecclesiastes was written to convince people like me that only God holds the keys to unlocking the mysteries of life and that He’s not loaning them all out! If God’s mind was small enough for me to understand, He wouldn’t be God! Yet, in spite of this, He has chosen to have a personal relationship with me—that’s the greatest mystery of all! (A Step Further, p. 173)
(To be continued in God Moves in a Mysterious Way – Part 3)