John Calvin:

Now this, also, ought to be added, that although either fatherly favor and beneficence or severity of judgment often shine forth in the whole course of providence, nevertheless sometimes the causes of the events are hidden.

So the thought creeps in that human affairs turn and whirl at the blind urge of fortune; or the flesh incites us to contradiction, as if God were making sport of men by throwing them like balls. It is, indeed, true that if we had quiet and composed minds ready to learn, the final outcome would show that God always has the best reason for his plan:

either to instruct his own people in patience,

or to correct their wicked affections and tame their lust,

or to subjugate them to self-denial,

or to rouse them from sluggishness;

again, to bring low the proud, to shatter the cunning of the impious and to overthrow their devices.

Yet however hidden and fugitive from our point of view the causes may be, we must hold that they are surely laid up with him, and hence we must exclaim with David: “Great, O God, are the wondrous deeds that thou hast done, and thy thoughts toward us cannot be reckoned; if I try to speak, they would be more than can be told” [Ps. 40:5]. (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.17.1)

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6 thoughts on “Trusting His Heart When You Cannot Trace His Hand”

  1. Wesley says:

    It never ceases to amaze me the depth of pride and blasphemy that comes from the mouths of those who – though they have nere had but a passing thought of God in their lifetimes – would shake their fists at the air and demand that the Sovereign of the universe defend Himself before the high court of their finite hearts. Here no less do we see the God who is truly “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” else they would quickly come to an end.
    – the Ox.

  2. anaquaduck says:

    Deep in unfathomable mines
    Of never failing skill
    He treasures up His bright designs
    And works His sovereign will.

    W.Cowper

  3. Rose says:

    For whom have I in heaven but thee?
    None else on earth I long to know,
    My flesh may faint and weary be,
    My heart may fail and heavy grow,
    With strength doth God my heart restore.
    He is my portion evermore. Ps. 73

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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