Behind a frowning Providence

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The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
Sometimes you work so hard for something and it just seems you hit a brick wall and wonder what in the World is God doing. You work and strive and see so much suffering and to what avail? Then you get a small glimpse ever now and again from examples of faith and life that just boost you into knowing it isn't all about us. God is building His Kingdom and doing his work smiling and preparing a bride fit for His chamber. This small tidbit from John Piper reminded me of this.

One of the best illustrations of God's hiding a smiling face behind a frowning providence is the story of how Owen failed to help Bunyan get out of prison. Repeatedly when Bunyan was in prison Owen worked for his release with all the strings he could pull. But to no avail. But when John Bunyan came out in 1676 he brought with him a manuscript "the worth and importance of which can scarcely be comprehended" (see note 33). In fact Owen met with Bunyan and recommended his own publisher, Nathaniel Ponder. The partnership succeeded, and the book that has probably done more good, after the Bible, was released to the world—all because Owen failed in his good attempts to get Bunyan released, and because he succeeded in finding him a publisher. The lesson: "Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,/but trust him for his grace;/behind a frowning providence/he hides a smiling face."

The Chief Design of My Life: Mortification and Universal*Holiness Reflections on the Life and Thought of John Owen 1994 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors - Desiring God
Providence is truly amazing and a reminder that God's ways are not our ways. Of the hard and difficult experiences we go through we would never chose them for ourselves yet afterwards we marvel at the Lord's leading through it.
Thanks for sharing, Randy. Praise God that he works in ways I cannot understand for the good of his church!
Little did Job know how his experience would be used by the Lord; but what an awful experience he had to go through, without that knowledge.
This is a good reminder that we cannot judge our path by how easy or hard it is. And I enjoy Mr. Piper's biographies too.
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