Updated: Jun 14, 2019
It seems as though whenever there is a hurricane, or the life of a young person comes to an end before their time we hear this verse uttered. I, for one, hate this statement. It is a cop-out that pawns the blame off on God so that someone doesn't have to come up with an answer of their own as to why bad things happen.
You are probably thinking to yourself by now, 'The Bible says the ways of God are mysterious!' You're right, it says something along the lines of that. Let's take a look at this scripture and see what it actually says so that it isn't misquoted, "As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things." It doesn't say in the bible that the ways of God are mysterious. It also doesn't say that we can't understand what God is thinking. I can almost hear the voices of naysayers claiming, " Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? "Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?"
Misquoted scriptures are the work of the enemy. It originates in darkness in order to make you question the validity of God's word. The very first attack that Satan used on mankind was to twist God's word. It is the attack he used to rob the first Adam of his inheritance, and the same attack he tried to use to rob the last Adam (Jesus 1 Cor 15:45) in the desert.
I hear scripture misquoted very frequently such as God helps those who help themselves, or God won't give you more than you can bear. These verses are used to keep you in a place of self-reliance, and not seeking God for help. Think about it, if God won't give you more than you can handle then do you need to ask him for help? Nope, of course not because you can handle it. The origin of that lie comes from a verse that is expressly talking about the temptation to sin, " No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
If God only helps you when you help yourself doesn't that mean that you don't need God to help you? You're already helping yourself. In the same manner, the saying, God works in mysterious ways, is a misquoted scripture that is designed to keep people from seeking God for assistance. It is a scripture that is twisted by the enemy in order to make the believer look like a fool, to pass the blame from the enemy to God for a disaster, and to release a person from having to come up with an answer for why bad stuff happens that is deeper than, "Well, bad things happen because there is a devil. We don't know why God does what he does, but he must have had a plan and purpose for murdering 100,000 people with a hurricane."
The truth of the matter is that we can now understand how God is working. We may not see the whole picture, but we have access to the mind of God through Christ. The scripture that is so commonly misquoted actually has more to it than what is quoted.
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except for their own spirit within them? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ." -1 Corinthians 2:9-16.
I see two things that are not commonly taught in the church. We always hear that no one can perceive the great things God has planned for us. Before we were Christians that was a true statement but look what Paul said after that: "these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit." The things that we are taught that we can't fathom have been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. I have conceived what God has in store for me. If I hadn't conceived or imagined the great things he has in store, then Jesus went ahead and revealed those things to us in his word.
Next, we see that that Paul removes the former restriction of not being able to understand God by explaining to us that because of Jesus' finished work at the cross we have been allowed to have the Holy Spirit that lives in us, and having Holy Spirit means we have access to the mind of God, and we have the mind of Christ who is God in the flesh. In all ways, we have access to the understanding of God's ways.
This revelation that Paul shared with us ties in perfectly with 2 Timothy 1:7, " For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power, and of love, and of self-control." as we dissect this verse we learn a few things. Let's start with the word cowardice. We know in the practical sense that cowardice is fear. This is a very specific word that is only used one time in the new testament. This particular type of fear is dealing with not speaking. Strong's defines this type of cowardice as a type of reticence which means to be shy, reserved, or bashful. We see evidence that this is true in the next verse when Paul says, " So do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me, His prisoner."
Paul understood that we are not to hold back the word of God. We were are not be afraid of preaching the gospel any time, anywhere. As we learned from the previous lesson, the Holy Spirit testifies when you testify. Holding back your testimony about Jesus holds back the Holy Spirit from manifesting in your life, and subsequently withholds his spirit from being revealed to the people around you. This next and final move of God is going to be a movement of bold believers that are not only declaring the gospel but are demonstrating it with validation of the Holy Spirit. It's time to start being bold.
The next word I would like to go over with you is the word self-control, or as it is translated in some versions, sound mind. The word used to describe self-control in Greek is sophronismos. This means self-control in a broad sense, but there is so much more to understand. One could deduce that self-control means that we don't things that we know we shouldn't, but it's more. The root word of sopronismos comes from sophron.
Sophron is considered the "inner outlook" which regulates outward behavior. it is referring to what is correctly balanced in a divine manner. This type of balance is far more than being even-tempered, or even-keeled, or in the middle. It is acting in God's divine balance or being well balanced in God's eyes. K. Wuest states it as, "a man who does not command himself, but rather is commanded by God'" This root, sophro, "soundness," reflects living in a God defined balance. Therefore it is not our own self-control that we operate in, but our lives are regulated by the self-control of the Spirit of God that has been given to us.
When we choose not to sin, not to act out in anger, to read the word of God, or even to love people it is the direct result of us being led by the spirit of God which in turn shows that we are accessing the mind of Christ. While I was researching what cowardice meant, I came across an interesting synonym, pusillanimity. This word means to be timid or have a lack of courage. The root words pusillus and animus mean very small mind. In the eyes of God not testifying about Jesus is small mindedness. It is reverting back to the old mind of the flesh, that is supposed to be crucified, and turning back and stepping out of the mind of Christ. You are not doing yourself or anyone else any favors by not being bold in Christ.
Let's put aside our old way of reasoning and enter into agreement with God by accessing the mind of Christ constantly. Proverbs states, " There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death."-Proverbs 14:12. Let's stand up and walk out the promises of God, and not just stand on the promises. It's time to start analyzing what we say and stop just accepting tired old excuses so we don't have to put in the work of finding out why God did something, or why something happened a certain way? It's the glory of God to conceal a matter; it's the glory of king's to seek a matter out. God is inviting you to witness his glory by causing a desire in your heart to have answers. Seeking out the things God has concealed isn't just unlocking mysteries, it's discovering Jesus in a new light.