William Cowper was certainly right when in 1774 he wrote “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” the hymn that includes the words in the title to this post. Sometimes the truth is best sung. And sometimes the truth is most real to us when we find ourselves in the furnace of affliction.
I was reminded of this recently through the writings of my friend, mentor, and former pastor Tom Schreiner. Tom is a world-renowned New Testament scholar. Among his many published works is a massive New Testament Theology and commentary on the book of Romans. And, yet, some of his best theological work is coming in the aftermath of his wife Diane’s tragic bicycling accident of a few weeks ago. For example, here’s the prayer update Tom wrote on Monday:
The physical therapists made Diane do things that are difficult. She had to stand up today for 4 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute when it was very painful for her to do so.
Why do they make her do what causes so much pain? Because they know it is for her good in the long run, even though she can’t see it now nor can she understand it now.
I thought of this in considering Diane’s bicycle accident. The scriptures are clear. Ultimately, it wasn’t just a freak accident. Her heavenly Father was with her, and he could have prevented it from happening.
That is clear from Matthew 10:29-30. “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted” (HCSB).
If sparrows don’t fall to the ground apart from the Father, neither do bicycle riders. Not even the tiniest thing can happen to us apart from the Father’s will. He didn’t cease being her Father when she fell.
Why did it happen? The scriptures are clear: to bring glory to God. But why did this particular event bring him glory and not another? I don’t fully understand that, but why should I understand it? I am just a finite human being and I don’t see God’s plan for the entire universe. His wisdom is infinitely greater than mine, and he doesn’t need me as his counselor! (Rom 11:34).
We also know that God is our kind and loving Father. He brought this into Diane’s life, my life, and our family’s life as our loving Father. I don’t fully understand why. But I know that God is my Father and Diane’s Father and the Father of my children. He loves Diane. He loves me. He loves our children. He planned it for our good, so that we would become more like Christ and trust our Father even more. I am so comforted to know that I am not at the mercy of fate or accidents. I have a heavenly Father! And he loves me, protects me, and strengthens me.
Diane did great standing today. She ran a bit of a fever and they gave her Tylenol. She slept most of the day. She is doing well at identifying 3 dimensional objects, but she struggles at this point the more abstract it is. The speech therapist showed Diane the words “dog” and “cat” along with a black and white picture of the dog. She couldn’t point to the word dog.
We know the journey is long. But God is our Father, and he has given us wonderful brothers and sisters who encourage us. God strengthens us through your prayers. He really does!
Will you join me in praying earnestly for Diane’s full recovery? And we pray knowing, as Tom wrote, that we are not at the mercy of fate or accidents. We have a heavenly Father that loves us, protects us, and strengthens us.
Yes, sweet will be the flower.