Sunday, June 15, 2008

Unseen Purposes

I read this on John Piper's blog this week ( and it struck me as being timely and profound for me.

When Christ died he purchased for you the Yes to all God’s promises (2 Cor. 1:20), and that includes the promise to use his sovereign power to govern all the inexplicable, maddening detours and delays of your life for wise and loving purposes. He is doing a thousand things for you and for his glory in your disappointed plans.

Richard Wurmbrand tells a story that illustrates the necessity of believing God for good, unseen purposes, when all we can see is evil and frustration:

A legend says that Moses once sat near a well in meditation. A wayfarer stopped to drink from the well and when he did so his purse fell from his girdle into the sand. The man departed. Shortly afterwards another man passed near the well, saw the purse and picked it up. Later a third man stopped to assuage his thirst and went to sleep in the shadow of the well. Meanwhile, the first man had discovered that his purse was missing and assuming that he must have lost it at the well, returned, awoke the sleeper (who of course knew nothing) and demanded his money back. An argument followed, and irate, the first man slew the latter. Where upon Moses said to God, “You see, therefore men do not believe you. There is too much evil and injustice in the world. Why should the first man have lost his purse and then become a murderer? Why should the second have gotten a purse full of gold without having worked for it? The third was completely innocent. Why was he slain?”

God answered, “For once and only once, I will give you an explanation. I cannot do it at every step. The first man was a thief’s son. The purse contained money stolen by his father from the father of the second man, who finding the purse only found what was due him. The third was a murderer whose crime had never been revealed and who received from the first the punishment he deserved. In the future believe that there is sense and righteousness in what transpires even when you do not understand.” (100 Prison Meditations, 6-7)

Though I find the explanation from the Moses story a bit too neat and tidy, I still find benefit from this thought. I have felt on the shelf for a long time now. I feel like I'm a shipwreck offering nothing to passing sailors a tentative word, "Though there is hope in no other path, I didn't make it; good luck to you. I pray you will fare better than I did with this God."

The idea that God might be working in a thousand ways in the midst of my profound disappointment and disillusionment is overwhelming. It is so contrary to what I would have gathered myself using my own (ahem) "wisdom."