A Brief Meditation for the Month

July 2023

There are many mysteries in the life experiences of Christians, yet they are all divinely ordered and governed by our sovereign God. What is often a mystery to us is, of course, perfectly understood by the God of providence, “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will,” Ephesians 1:11. Thomas Watson, the Puritan, wrote, “The providences of God are sometimes dark, and our eyes dim, and we can hardly tell what to make of them: but when we cannot unriddle providence, believe it shall work together for the good of the elect (Romans 8:28).” Some of God’s dear children are on occasions so severely tried that it seems God’s providences are at cross purpose to his promises, but it is important to remember that the purposes, promises, and providences we encounter are all from the same source. However they appear to us, they do not contradict each other but harmonize perfectly in the plan of the all-wise God. Richard Sibbes, another of the Puritan divines, explained: “The wheels in a clock move contrary one to another, some one way, some another, yet all serve the intent of the workman, to show the time, or to make the clock strike. So in the world, the providences of God may seem to run cross to His promises: one man takes this way, another runs that way; good men go one way, wicked men another; yet all, in conclusion, accomplish the will and centre in the purpose of God, the great Creator of all things.”

When Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans, he confidently stated: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” Once the child of God possesses this confidence, ‘I know,’ then they can be at peace, even when walking in darkness with its accompanying confusion or mystery. God, the God of providence, gives us this advice: “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” Isaiah 50:10. As believers, we have God’s promises communicated to us in the Scriptures, but our faith in those promises is often tested through our providences. God’s ways of fulfilling his promises quite regularly surprise us. He often does the unexpected, and even at times, what unbelieving reasoning has concluded to be impossible. During his devastating trials, the godly Job was crying out for God, seeking to know where he could find him. However, when Job knew not where to find God, God knew exactly where Job was and everything he was experiencing. When God revealed himself to Job in his own time, Job acknowledged his ignorance of God and just how little he understood the ways and sovereign workings of the One who had been dealing with him—Job 40:3–5; 42:1–6. Job was compelled to acknowledge: “Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.” How foolishly believers can react to God’s way of doing things in their experiences, for it is truly foolish to pit our reasoning and supposed wisdom against that of the One who is the Alpha and the Omega, who knows the end of everything, even from the beginning. In the book of Psalms, we find that most positive statement: “The Lord reigneth,” Psalm 93:1; 97:1; 99:1. God is not just controlling events. He reigns. This is what the proud and arrogant king Nebuchadnezzar had to discover and acknowledge in humility: “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” When all God’s dear children, by grace, finally enter glory, then they will testify with joy: “He hath done all things well.” Mark 7:37.

G. G. Hutton.