Yesterday I read this poem by William Cowper in John Piper's The Hidden Smile of God.
“God Moves in a Mysterious Way”
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
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 flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
George Mueller wrote about how we can welcome trials and challenges in our lives because they are opportunities for God to strengthen our faith:
“God delights to increase the faith of his children. Our faith, which is feeble at first, is developed and strengthened more and more by use. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hand as a means.
I say—and I say it deliberately—trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith...We must allow Him to educate us through trials and bereavements and troubles. It is through trials that faith is exercised and developed more and more.
God affectionately permits difficulties, that He may develop unceasingly that which He is willing to do for us, and to this end we should not shrink, but if He gives us sorrow and hindrances and losses and afflictions, we should take them out of his hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us.”
This verse in Psalms struck me this morning, as I helped to lift Daniel up from the sidewalk twice after he fell down, on our walk to his kindergarten.
“The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145:14)
We fall down and God helps us get to our feet again. He raises us up to become more than we could ever be otherwise—through the strengthening of our faith—through the difficulties that we would never choose for ourselves if given the choice.
I can hear Him say, “Lean hard into me, dear child. I will support you. I will give you the strength you need in this moment, and in all that feels crushing and overwhelming to you right now. Don't lose heart. I am here. And I am enough. Trust me. And see my both my Majesty and my Mercy in the Mystery.”
You Raise Me Up