God Moves Behind the Scenes
“I know that Thou canst do everything and that no thought of Thine can be hindered” (Job 42:2 margin).
So cried the patriarch of old, as he saw “The end of the Lord,” in all His dealing with him.
And well it is to retire into our high tower and to know that there is One who still
“Sits as Sovereign on the throne
And ruleth all things well.”
God, the unhurried God, is carrying out His plans and purposes for the glory of Christ and for the blessing of all those who receive “the truth in the love of it,” that they may be saved. And “none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” as “He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth” (Dan. 4:35), as proud but penitent Nebuchadnezzar was brought to say. Man boasts himself of his powers, vaunts himself of his progress and prides himself of his skill. But it is still true that “Every man at his best estate is altogether vanity . . . Surely every man walketh in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain” (Ps. 39:5-6).
Christ the Son of God manifested in the world in grace has been rejected. He sits on the Father’s throne exalted, as for the rest expecting till His enemies are made His footstool. Meanwhile the church, to be the Bride of Christ in the day of His kingdom glory, is being gathered out from the world by the gospel of the grace and of the glory of the blessed God which is being proclaimed.
Amid all the workings of man’s busy will God is in peace and He is working out His own purposes and would have His own in peace also. As they confide in Him they may be and go on with His work.
“Calm amid tumultuous motion.”
Great waves and billows may roll and roar around them but they may be in “peace, peace,” with their hearts stayed upon Jehovah because they trust in Him.
Thus it has been all down the centuries of man’s history, God has shown that though unseen He has not been indifferent to men’s actions, but has ruled or overruled in everything.
So it was that after the deliverance of Israel from the lash of the taskmasters in Egypt, when Pharaoh’s hosts had perished in the waters, Jethro exclaimed “Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly He was above them” (Ex. 18:11). Or as Solomon declares “If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for He that is higher than the highest regardeth, and there be higher than they” (Eccl. 5:8). And God even makes the wrath of man to praise Him though He may use it for the cleansing of His loved ones from the love of the world which passes away.
The secret, all-controlling power of God has been well expressed in the following passage, which has in view John being banished to Patmos, where he wrote the Revelation. “The persecuting Emperor little thought what he was giving us when he banished the apostle; no more than Augustus, in his political plans as to the census of the empire, knew he was sending a poor carpenter to Bethlehem, with his espoused wife, that Christ might be born there; or the Jews and Pilate’s soldiers, that they were sending the thief to heaven, when they broke his legs in heartless respect for their own superstitions of ordinances. God’s ways are behind the scenes but He moves all the scenes which He is behind. We have to learn this, and let Him work, and not think much of man’s busy movements: they will accomplish God’s. The rest of them all perish and disappear. We have only peacefully to do His will” (Synopsis on Rev. 1).
Rest of heart is ours as we rely on Omnipotence and know that in ways inscrutable to us, God is working out His own will.
It may be that open persecution may arise against the Christian as the world plunges on to its doom. It may be we may be called to the honour of a martyr’s death for witness to our Lord, but let us not fear. “Martyr grace” will be ours “for martyr days” and “If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake happy are ye and be not afraid of their terror neither be troubled” (1 Pet. 3:4).
What then are we called to do at such and at all times? “Sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts”—or as another has said, “Care only for this, that your hearts may be a temple of Christ, in which becoming honour may be given to Him as Lord; then will nothing further disturb you.”
“Rest,” then, tried and troubled in the Lord and “wait patiently for Him” until He shows His almighty hand. Ever remember that “The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea than the mighty waves of the sea.”