Dark Providences Cleared In Due Time                  

John 13:7

            How many times have you seen or known some terribly painful, traumatic, almost devastating thing, and thought to yourself - “What good can come of this? How can this work for good? How will this benefit anyone? Can this be honoring to God?” We know that our heavenly Father is too wise to err, too good to do wrong, and too strong to fail. Yet, when tragedies come close to home we cannot help asking, “Why did this thing happen?” We may not openly say it, but in frustration, perhaps even in anger and resentment, we ask, “God what are you doing?” This is God’s gracious, merciful answer to our astonishment, confusion, and unbelief - “WHAT I DO THOU KNOWEST NOT NOW; BUT THOU SHALT KNOW HEREAFTER.”

            When Jacob awoke from his dream, he said, “Surely, the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not” (Gen. 28:16). When Samson’s strength was gone, we are told, “He wist not that the Lord was departed from him” (Jud. 16:20). What is said of our God’s presence and absence, of his comings and goings, may also be said of his doings. “What I do,” he says, “Thou knowest not now.”


“God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform.

He plants His footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.”


            Jacob cried, “All these things are against me” (Gen. 42:36), because he did not know what God was doing. Joseph’s path of experience never seemed to match God’s promise of grace, until he was on the throne in Egypt and his family was saved. I am sure Moses’ was terribly confused when he announced that God had sent him to deliver Israel and Israel turned against him, because their sorrow was increased. “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary; they way is in the seas, thy paths in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known” (Psa. 77:13;19). “Thy judgments are a great deep” (Psa. 36:6).

            Sometimes God’s providence appears to contradict his promises. Sometimes his acts of mercy and grace in providence look and feel like acts of wrath and judgment. Sometimes God appears to be favorable to the wicked and angry with the righteous. Many, many things in this world are confusing to God’s saints. He often seems to lift with one hand and casts down with the other. He appears to heal with one and wound with the other. But this should not surprise us. He told us plainly. “What I do thou knowest not now.” And there is a reason for it. OUR LORD WILL NOT LET US WALK BY SIGHT IN THIS WORLD. He demands and deserves that we walk by faith. Yet, he gives us this blessed promise, to assure and comfort our troubled hearts - “BUT THOU SHALT KNOW HEREAFTER.” In God’s time, everything will be cleared up; and we will know what God has done (Rom. 11:33-36).


Don Fortner