"And David went from there (the Cave of Adullam) to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, ‘Let my father and my mother, I pray you, come out of Judah and be with you till I know what God will do for me.'"
I Samuel 22: 3, Amplified Bible
"Our Father Turns Up In The Strangest Places"
"God writes straight with crooked lines."
Looking over my life, have there been times when I found myself in the strangest place, and yet I found God there with me, right by my side?
If today I feel I'm lost in a desert of my own making, will I commit to looking for my heavenly Father's guiding hand?
"A firm faith in the universal providence of God is the solution to all earthly problems. It is almost equally true that a clear and full apprehension of the universal providence of God is the solution of most theological problems."
B. B. Warfield
"We serve a gracious Master who knows how to overrule even our mistakes to His glory and our own advantage."
He was a well-known English hymn writer and poet born in 1731. One of the forerunners of what was called "Romantic Poetry," William Cowper suffered from severe manic depression. And although a fervent Christian, this illness was one he battled throughout his entire life.
There is a story, which although not completely documented, is told regarding an experience William Cowper had, apparently just before he wrote the words to the last hymn he penned - a hymn which deeply inspires me entitled, "Light Shining Out of Darkness." Here are the words to this majestic piece of poetry:
"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.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter
And He will make it plain."
Before the words to this poem were written, it has been reported that in a season of extreme depression, William Cowper decided to take his own life by jumping into the Thames River. He asked a cab to take him to the location but a dense fog settled around them and because the driver could not see where they were going, William Cowper ended up back at the doorstep of his home.
Whether or not all the details of this story, passed down through generations, took place exactly as indicated, it is without doubt a factual truth that this famous writer of hymns, had himself watched for the hand of God moving in his own life, especially during the dark times which threatened his very existence.
Maybe this is why I am so personally moved by a few particular phrases in William Cowper's hymn, especially the following words: "The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower." I am reminded of the beginnings of Transformation Garden. This website would not be here today if it weren't for the bitterness of the unexplainable accident in my own life. But, oh, how sweet the blooming flower as God's daughters (and sons, too!) have come together each day in the garden. It is a joy I could never have imagined.
And this leads me directly to the title of today's devotional: "Our Father Turns Up In The Strangest Places." For Transformation Garden to grow, God turned up in a tiny town among the junipers and red rocks in a place known mainly for New Age philosophy not Christian writing. But there is no doubt in my mind that without an upheaval in my life and a very difficult move, the "garden" wouldn't be where it is today. This revelation got me to thinking about how our heavenly Father shows up at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways to perform His purpose on earth.
It is our text today that serves as a large marker to underscore this fact in a most dramatic way.
David, while hiding from the murderous Saul, sought refuge in the Cave of Adullam. When his family found out, the Bible says, "They went down there to him" (I Samuel 22: 1). They may have had several reasons for going to see their son and brother. First, with David on the run, they may not have seen him for quite awhile. But second, when someone is a fugitive, even today, authorities often stake out the homes of close relatives and friends thinking it likely that this might be the first place someone who is seeking shelter may go to find food and protection. David's family may have wanted to get word to him that it wasn't safe to come home. What's more, his family may have felt their lives were in jeopardy, too, just because they were related to David.
Obviously, David must have sensed this potential problem developing for we are told he went to Moab to ask the king of this country to give safe-haven to his parents.
My first question was why Moab? Why would God choose to be found protecting His children in Moab, of all places? If you recall, the Israelites were forbidden to allow Moabites into their camp. These were people God told His children to stay away from. That is until a girl named Ruth, a Moabite said, "Your God is my God!" and joy of joy, whoever we are from wherever we come, when we say, "He is my God," our Father never, ever turns us away. And so, a Moabite woman named Ruth, married an Israelite man named Boaz and they had a son named Obed who was the father of Jesse. Yes, the Jesse who was David's dad. David's father was part Moabite and in this time when David was being hunted like an animal and his family was threatened, God's protective care was over them in Moab, until we are told, God could give guidance to David as to what he should do next and where he should go.
I absolutely love this story and you should, too. For right now you may be living in Moab, a place that isn't home! A foreign land. And you feel you can't see the hand of God in anything you do. A fog may have blanketed your way making it impossible for you to even move. But though your way seems impeded and darkness surrounds you, keep waiting. A light will break through and if you wait for God's perfect timing, you'll be surprised to find out you weren't wasting time in Moab. Just the opposite! God was protecting you. And He was using this time to work our His providence in your life. Keep watching for your Father today. I'm warning you, He has a way of showing up unexpectedly in the strangest places and at the strangest times. And if we trust Him, much to our surprise, He'll arrive in the Moab of our lives at that perfect moment!
"I am glad there is no such thing as ‘chance,' that nothing is left to itself, but that Christ everywhere has sway."
C. H. Spurgeon
The words to this poem were also composed by William Cowper and later became a hymn, too!
"In Him Confiding"
"Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while (she) sings;
It is the Lord who rises
With healing on His wings.
When comforts are declining
He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining,
To cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation
We sweetly then pursue
The theme of God's salvation,
And find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow,
We cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow
Bring with it what it may.
It can bring with it nothing
But He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing,
Will clothe His people, too.
Beneath the spreading heavens
No creature but is fed;
And He who feeds the ravens
Will give His children bread.
Though vine nor fig tree neither
Their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the fields should wither,
Nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding,
His praise shall tune my voice;
For while in Him confiding,
I cannot but rejoice."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.