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God Moves in Mysterious Ways

When facing difficult times we have all had someone tell us “well, you know God moves in mysterious ways.” Many people think that the phrase comes from the Bible itself. It does not; however, it does come from a beautiful hymn written by William Cowper. Cowper was a friend of John Newton, the writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace.” He lived during the 1700’s in England. He was quite a gifted poet who suffered from terrible bouts of deep depression. Those experiences uniquely prepared him to write profoundly rich hymns that serve to strengthen our hand in the midst of dark, dark nights of the soul. Read carefully, slowly, meditatively, this hymn from Cowper and let God work in your heart.
God moves in a mysterious way
his wonders to perform;
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.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
but trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
he hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
but sweet will be the flow’r.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
and scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
and he will make it plain.
Yes, God does work in mysterious ways, but in His time he will make it all plain.
Keep Trusting God,
Pastor David

Now That’s a Good Question
I love a good question. Don’t you? Good questions make us think. They push us to reflect more deeply and carefully on a problematic issue. Good questions that others ask often help us to put into words things that are nagging us but that we can’t quite express clearly. The Bible is filled with lots of great questions like that. Oh, by the way the great thing about the Bible is that it not only asks the questions it gives the answers. The question we’ll ook at comes from Psalm 42:9 where the psalmist asks God,  "Why have you forgotten me?” Have you ever felt forgotten by God? Have you ever felt like He has turned his back on you? I have. As a pastor this is one of the most common struggles that I have seen many Christians face. Sometimes that feeling of being forgotten is set off by a serious illness, a broken relationship, an unanswered prayer, a wayward child, financial hardship, or the loss of a job. We feel all alone. We feel like God has forsaken us. What can we do about this? The first thing to do once we realize that we are feeling forgotten is to express that feeling in the form of questions. That’s what the psalm writer does.    He asks God what’s going on. He talks to God. Do you know what that’s called? It’s called prayer. He doesn’t suppress his fears and doubts by acting like they are not there. No, he turns quickly and fervently to God. We know this truth in our daily interpersonal relationships, that when we have a problem with someone we must go to them directly, yet we often overlook this simple fact in our dealings with God. We need to go directly to God, even with our questions, maybe especially with our questions. Don’t fake faith. Be honest about your struggles and “take it to the Lord in prayer.” A relationship with God is built up by honest questioning not broken down by it. Secondly, we need to give ourselves a good talking to.   In verse 11 of this Psalm (42) the writer asks himself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? He then commands his soul to “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”  This is so hard to do, but sometimes we have to be firm with ourselves and tell ourselves that enough is enough. We can’t just go on and on feeling sorry for ourselves. We know that God is good. We know that God is great. We know that God is faithful. We know that he has delivered us in the past. We know that all things work together for good for those that love the Lord. We know all this and there comes a time to say to ourselves- HOPE IN GOD! He is our salvation and He is our future. One more thing to do when your feel abandoned by God remember that Jesus felt that way on the cross when he cried out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me.”  God the Father did turn his back on Jesus for a short time because as 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  God the Father turned his back on Jesus because Jesus took our sins on himself and received our punishment, which was separation from God and death. Now anyone who trusts in Christ as his sin-bearer and turns from those sins belongs to God forever. In fact, Jesus said to his followers inMatthew 28:20 “…I am with you always, to the end of the age." In other words, we may feel forgotten by God from time to time, but it is only that- a feeling. The reality is that for all who know and love God He will never leave or forsake them. We are not forgotten!
By:    David J. Brady