Last week we contemplated the lyrics of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” this week we’ll contemplate the rich lyrics of Cowper’s “God Moves In A Mysterious Way.”
I’ve been working on a book during this time of COVID – 19, and He has not given me the direction all at once, but puzzles pieces a little at a time until after months I began to see the big picture. That is so like our mysterious God — just a little light for the next step.
One of the first puzzle pieces He impressed on me was that He cares very much about names. Take, for example, the little book of Ruth. Every single name fits into the story — even the nameless man who behaves dishonorably toward Ruth and Naomi. It takes my breath away at the mysterious sovereignty of God.
The very first name we are told is the name of Elimelech, Naomi’s husband. Elimelech means “my God is King,” and He certainly is, right down to the smallest detail of our lives. I pondered, for example, why would any parent give their sons names that mean “terminally sick” and “wasting away?” Yet that is the meaning behind the names of the sons of Naomi and Elimelech – a prophecy fulfilled when they died young after disobediently taking Moabite brides. “Ruth” means “beauty” or “feminine friend,” and she was all of that, accompanying her grieving and bitter mother-in-law all the way to Bethlehem. After losing her husband and sons, Naomi (meaning “sweet’) asked to be called “Mara” (bitter), but God uses Ruth to restore Naomi to her former sweetness. Ruth’s sister-in-law, Orpah (“stiff-necked or double-minded”) retreats from Naomi, returning to idol-worshipping Moab. (I also find it intriguing that Oprah Winfrey was named after Orpah, though her grandmother misspelled it.) Names and their meanings are often mysteriously significant in God’s big story. So I ponder — did God put those names in the hearts of the parents without their even knowing it? He must have!
I think about what I have been called all my life — either Dee Dee or Dee. One book of baby names says that name connotates insignificance, rather like Lewis Carroll’s Tweedledee and Tweedledum. I like that, for I am an insignificant little woman loved by a BIG AND AWESOME GOD!
Let’s ponder together God’s mysterious ways so that we can keep on choosing to trust.
Highlights from Last Week:
I love how you are appreciating the power of the lament!
I also love how you are taking the dare to pray boldly. Karman, a newcomer prayed:
But perhaps most of all I loved your reflections on Bridge Over Troubled Water — and how many of you had a history with that song! Chris had it played at her wedding — rumblings of God’s sovereignty, knowing and caring about the tragedy that lay ahead for them.
Bing (Ernema) wasn’t sure how the line about “Silver Girl” fit and I told her that was almost my favorite — for though I am sinful and selfish, old and wrinkled, God looks at me and says, “You are beautiful, my love, there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Songs) I am one of His shimmering ones! And though one day I will sail out of the sight of my loved ones, I will not be gone — I will have arrived at the other side.
Sail on silver girl, sail on by…and if you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind.
Some of you brought fascinating bits of information on how it came to Paul Simon — inspired by gospel music. In one interview he said: “One minute I didn’t have the song — the next minute I did.” That surely sounds like God put it in his heart. Simon and Garfunkel, though they do not seem to know Him, fascinate me. How I’ve pondered the chorus to Mrs Robinson:
And here’s to you
Jesus loves you more than you will know
Woah woah woah
God bless you please
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey
God’s mysterious ways! The Song by Cowper is so rich — and meaningful when life is SO HARD. Here is one rendition — let the lyrics penetrate your heart:
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Read the beginning of Chapter 4: Choose To Trust in Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy. Meditate on the lyrics of Cowper’s Hymn: God Moves In A Mysterious Way. What stands out to you and why?
Monday: Choosing to Trust in the Hardest of Circumstances
Optional: Great message from Haddon Robinson on the above hymn. You can multitask and listen — but share if you do listen what stood out to you!
3. If you listened to the above, share something that stood out to you.
4. Read the next two sections: It’s Time To Choose and Trust=Active Patience and share the author’s main thoughts.
5. Read Psalm 13 and identify:
- The turn and complaint
- The question he asks
- The trust
6. Then read “Choosing To Trust” and “But God” and see how you did –and if you learned anything else.
Wednesday: Three Affirmations of Trust
7. Vroegop breaks Psalm 13:5-6 into three affirmations of trust. Find each one, and what he says about it.
These keep us on keeping on. Take one that particularly resonates with you and do it here, either for a lament in your life or another person’s life.
Thursday: Varied Expressions
8. Finish the chapter, share your comments.
Friday: Lament for Prodigals
I am realizing it takes courage to sit on the chair on a blog — but I’m going to put it there again, if anyone wants support in praying for a prodigal child. Put your prayer in bold.
9. Choose a reflection question or two and share a take-a-way.