God moves in mysterious ways. I would say this is one of the top 5 most over used Christianese phrases. It’s used in all sorts of contexts, but it’s used mostly as a comfort to people going through a hard time, which is actually not very comforting. And a fun fact about this phrase is that it doesn’t actually appear in the Bible, but is actually a line in a hymn that was written by William Cowper. The hymn (titled “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”) goes like this:
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 purpose will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter
And he will make it plain.
I can’t say I have ever heard or read this hymn before, but after Googling the phrase “God moves in mysterious ways” and reading the words of William Cowper, I realized how relatable it actually is to my life right now, despite the cliché-ness or overuse of the phrase.
In the last month or so I have experienced some pretty big life changes, and the one thing I keep thinking over and over again is “God moves in mysterious ways.” I started dating a really amazing Midwestern boy who loves Jesus and is so thoughtful; I sent off my baby sister to start a new chapter in her life as a college student at my (and basically our whole family’s) alma mater; and I packed up my life and moved across the country from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
If you told me two years ago, or even one year ago, that my life would look like this, I would have said, “Nah, you crazy!” I never would have thought I would be dating someone with a heavy Midwestern accent and find it so endearing. I always knew the day to send my sister off to college would come, but it never felt real to me. I’ve anticipated the move to LA for over a year now, but I never knew exactly when the day would come. And if you had told me all of these things were going to happen within weeks of each other, I don’t think I would have believed that either!
But, God moves in mysterious ways.
When I stop and think about all of the things the Lord has done in my life over the past year, I’m reminded of one simple truth: God is faithful. These three big life changes are proof of that. Even in the midst of my unfaithfulness and doubt, God has shown Himself faithful over and over again. In 2 Timothy, Paul reminds Timothy, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). Despite my doubts and fears, God’s sovereign will will always prevail. His thoughts and His ways will always be higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9), and for that I am so so thankful (because if I had had everything my way, there’s no tellin’ how bad my life would look right now!).
So here I am, living in a new city and trying to figure out life here, dating a guy who lives all the way across the country, having a sister in college, and parents at home in a totally different time zone. Life sounds really crazy (and most days feels pretty crazy), but even in the midst of all of it I am experiencing grace and joy from the Lord like I’ve never experienced before. By the grace of God I am able to embrace the crazy while seeing the good in all of it, while seeing the hand of the Lord at work in every aspect of my life.