William Cowper (1731–1800), English poet and hymnodist, fervent Evangelical Christian, penned these famous words, "God moves in a mysterious way," in his hymn of the same title (1774). This verse, assumed to be from the Bible, is quoted often as a way to help explain the unexplainable -- events and circumstances -- that would appear to be God ordained or God initiated.
The Bible does speak of God moving or guiding the believer as well as of His hand creating or changing events and circumstances within the life of the believer, or more commonly, within the history of the nation of Israel (1 Samuel 5:11; 2 Chronicles 30:12; Job 19:21; 27:11; Ecclesiastes 2:24; 9:1). Exactly how does God move if He is Spirit (John 4:24)? How does His hand move to guide and direct us when He is not like us in human form? When a believer says that God is moving in their life, that he or she feels the Lord moving within them, what does this mean?
I have experienced God's movement in my life. I have seen His hand upon my life, resting in the details, guiding, orchestrating, and bringing to fulfillment His plans and purposes for me. I have come to recognize His hand, to see His fingermarks, and to know that He is active and present in my daily life. His presence is real, He lives within me, and He walks and talks with me. I experience the fullness of God in my everyday life. I see the out-workings of that daily friendship on the change I experience within my heart, my mind, and my soul. Yes, God moves in mysterious ways, and I am blessed because He chooses to guide me with His hand, and He delights in shepherding me to the places of His choosing. God is good, so very good to me.
As I was praying this morning, I heard the Lord say to me that He was moving again. I know -- what does that mean -- hearing the Lord speak? I cannot explain it, it is just my way of saying that I got this impression that He was speaking with me, preparing me, helping me to understand that I needed to "expect change" in my life. Whenever He moves like this, change occurs. I normally do not react well to His movement because it means that for a short while I will feel out of sorts, off balance. I don't like the feeling of being moved when I am not in control.
Visual word picture: Imagine a big arm sweeping down from heaven, firmly grasping you and lifting you up and off the ground. Then that big arm whisks you from the spot where you have been, that very comfortable spot, and takes you to a new, unfamiliar spot. The arm carefully, gently sets you down in a place where you are unfamiliar, unsure, and uncertain. You are now in a new place, and you are unprepared, not sure what you will encounter or how you will endure. This is what change is like for me. I feel like this is exactly how the Lord moves in my life or moves me in this life.
I have learned to deal with His movement. I have learned to expect the uneasiness that comes with change. I have also learned to accept the new and the unfamiliar as good gifts -- good things from the hand of the Lord (James 1:17). Most often, after a short while of being off balance, I come to find that the new place is much better than the old place. I find that there is rich blessing and reward in the new place, opportunities and challenges alike, but all of the possibilities are good. They have good outcomes.
I used to panic and fear whenever I sensed that the Lord was moving in me. I thought, "Oh, Lord -- not again? Not now. Not when I just got myself settled." Now, I am more like "Let's go for it. Let's do this thing" because I know that whatever He determines to do is for my best, it is to help me to be more like Him, and to prepare me to do His work. It is all good, all good.
So today I felt Him saying to me "Let's move" and I responded with "OK, let's do it."
No earthquake. No shaking. No nothing. Yes, when the Lord moves, I don't always feel the actual movement. I don't sense being picked up and tossed about. No, the realization of His movement comes after a while, after I have landed in the new place, after I have adjusted to the change. Then, in prayer or through some event or circumstance, I realize that I have indeed been moved. My life will be different. I will see it, I will know it, and I will receive confirmation of it. I will reflect on my life, think about the past couple weeks or months, and BAM! I will get it. I will see the path change, and I will connect all the dots that show that I took some pretty big steps forward in my life, in my relationship with the Lord.
God is good to give me time. He knows me so well, and He loves me so completely. He doesn't want me to be crushed to the point where I cannot recover from His movement. He needs me to be ready, to be alert, to be willing to engage, to learn, to process. He needs me active and present and willing to do whatever He asks of me. Yes, Lord, I am ready. I am so ready to do your work and your will. May it be so, may it be so.
Today, I feel that He is moving or has moved. I wait to discover the change that will occur as a result of this move.
What will this move mean to me?
How will it influence my life?
How will I be changed as a result?
What will I learn from it?
How will He use me because of my willingness to allow Him to move me?
The Lord has great plans for my life. I am certain of this, I know it deep down in my heart. I see those plans coming to pass, and I jump for joy at that very thought. He is making a way for me.
Isaiah 43:19 - For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you
not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create
rivers in the dry wasteland.
Yes, the Lord is making a way for me, a pathway through the wilderness. I am moving, I am walking along side of Him, and together we are doing something wonderful for His Name, His Praise and His Honor. Selah!