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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 is this going to 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 strong to fail, and too good to do wrong. Yet, when tragedies come close to home, we cannot help asking, “Why did this thing happen?” We may not openly say it, but we ask in frustration, perhaps in anger or resentment, — “God, what are you doing?”

      Here in John 13 God the Holy Spirit has preserved by divine inspiration a word from our dear Savior that should help to prepare us for such times. As the Lord Jesus began to wash his disciples’ feet, Peter was confused by the Master’s conduct, and said to him in verse 6, — “Lord, Dost thou wash my feet?” Then, in verse 7, “Jesus answered and said unto him, 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” (Genesis 28:16). When Samson’s strength was gone, we are told, “He wist not that the Lord was departed from him” (Judges 16:20). What is said of our Savior’s presence and absence, his goings and comings, may also be said of his doings. — “What I do,” he says, “thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.”

      Specifically, this word from our Savior in John 13:7, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter,” refers to our Lord’s act of washing his disciples’ feet. But it is a statement that is clearly applicable to God’s providence. The design or intention of God’s works of providence are often, if not usually, hidden from his people; but they shall be revealed in due time.


“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.


His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour.

The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.


Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, the clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break, in blessing on your head.


Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain.

God is His own Interpreter; and He will make it plain.”

— William Cowper


      All the dark mysteries and painful experiences of God’s providence will be cleared up for God’s saints in God’s time. — “Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter







Don Fortner








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