“God works in mysterious ways.” This is a phrase we hear or say often. These words remind me of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1:25, “For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strenth.” I also think of Mary’s song in Luke 1, where she describes God as turning the world upside down (“filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty,” verse 53). Yes, God works in mysterious ways.
Paul points to God’s mysterious ways in the scripture for today. He refers to having “suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi,” and then further writes that “we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children.” That is God at work in Paul. How? Because when human beings suffer and are mistreated, it is in our nature to retaliate in kind. If we can’t take our revenge out directly on those who caused our suffering and mistreatment, we find another outlet, such as someone who is weaker than we. Paul, out of frustration caused by his mistreatment, could have used a harsh manner with the Thessalonians, but instead he was gentle, as one who cared for children.
God works in mysterious ways, indeed. It is only through God’s power in us that our human nature can be turned upside down.
Thank you, O God, for your mysterious ways. Amen. — DB