God Works in Mysterious Ways

god works in mysterious ways

The Bible and testimonies from Christians across history provide numerous examples of how God works to turn situations and problems upside-down – often seemingly miraculous events that seem mysterious at first.

Many people ask themselves if the Bible says “God works in mysterious ways.” To which the answer is in the affirmative.


Christians frequently use the phrase, “God works in mysterious ways” to explain away bad events that come their way. While this statement appears in scripture, it should be understood as misquoted from an English hymn entitled “God Moves in Mysterious Way”, written by William Cowper in 1773 and widely considered one of his finest compositions.

The hymn weaves assertions about God’s goodness and sovereignty together with pleas to take courage and trust Him, using metaphors such as storms, mines, smiles, and flowers to illustrate its principles. Cowper himself was no stranger to suffering and doubt himself but found strength in faith enough to write this hymn in spite of it all.

God often works in mysterious ways. This phrase refers to His plans being beyond our understanding; especially when bad things occur and hardships or death occur for His purpose. Joseph is an excellent example of this idea – even though what his brothers had done to him was wrong, Joseph knew God had plans for him and would turn even bad actions against him into good outcomes.

Another example of God at work can be seen when He asks us to do something strange or even foolish. For instance, when Joshua was directed by God to march around Jericho instead of attacking it directly at first glance it seemed strange and even foolish; but as soon as the people of Israel followed God’s order and managed to blow down its walls with their obedience it showed that His hand was at work mysteriously in bringing victory for their nation.

Even so, we must remember that God does not always operate mysteriously – sometimes he just acts simply. For example, his presence can often be found in nature itself as we witness beautiful stars or majestic mountains.

Belief in God working mysteriously can provide comforting reassurance during difficult times, reminding them that He is in control. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this phrase doesn’t appear anywhere in Scripture and serves as an easy go-to response when answering difficult questions without having all of the answers available to them.


People may recognize God at work in their lives through feelings of peace or guidance, seemingly perfect coincidences, or other inexplicable occurrences. Other times however it can be much harder to detect His work around us and this has lead some people to believe He acts mysteriously; doing things beyond our understanding.

William Cowper wrote the song that is most famous for featuring this catchphrase “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” known as his last hymn before attempting suicide, in 1773. This hymn represents his beliefs about how God works mysteriously yet loves and cares for his creation in equal measures.

God can often be seen at work mysteriously throughout biblical accounts. For instance, He binds Ezekiel with ropes and tells him to lie on his left side for 390 days (Ezekiel 3:16-18), sends two female bears to attack children teasing Elisha (2 Kings 2:23-25), stops time at Joshua’s request so Israel could conquer Amorites land (Joshua 10).

God often works in mysterious ways as evidenced in Joseph’s story in Genesis 50:20, where Joseph indicated that although his brothers meant him harm, God intended it all for good (Gen 50:20). This shows us that even when things seem tough or mysterious in life, we can trust in the fact that He knows exactly what He’s doing and will use whatever occurs for our good.

Some may view the phrase, “God moves in mysterious ways,” as an easy out for the church when facing hard questions about Christianity such as why He allows rape or murder to occur. Unfortunately, making such arguments may lead to loss of trust in both Him and Scripture.


The Bible and Christian testimonies throughout history provide numerous examples of how God works mysteriously in turning situations, problems and lives upside down. Indeed, people often refer to Him as working through mysterious means! It’s easy to see why the expression “God works in mysterious ways.” is frequently heard.

Joseph later explained to his brothers that God had a plan for him (Genesis 50:20). Job knew his great loss was serving some greater good (Job 38:4); when God called Ehud with withered hands to kill King Eglon for His Lordship (Judges 3:1-4), Ehud understood this was His will (Judges 3:1-4).

Sometimes God’s mysterious ways leave us mystified. For instance, when He instructed Joshua to march around Jericho instead of just storming it (Joshua 6:1-5), some were taken aback – it made them wonder why the Lord didn’t tell Joshua directly (and without hindrance from Satan) how to attack it (Joshua 6:1-5).

God works in mysterious ways when He selects unclean outsiders as parents for His Son. Naomi was initially offended that Ruth, her daughter-in-law, was an unclean Moabitess (Genesis 37:28), yet eventually understood that He was using Ruth to form the genealogy for His Messiah that would bring humility to humanity.

Many of us can relate to the stories above. When life throws us a curveball that leaves us perplexed, turning to Scripture or Christian friends can often help bring clarity and comfort. Christians have access to God’s ultimate wisdom through the Holy Spirit who allows us to discover hidden truths written into His Word that provide comfort as they face any mystery that comes their way.


The Bible contains many accounts of how God works mysteriously in our world, such as Abraham becoming father of Israel, Joseph’s role in Egypt, exile and sojourn of Hebrews in Babylon, destruction of Temple by destruction by destructionist forces on Pentecost Day, unleashing of Holy Spirit during Pentecost celebrations; yet one of its biggest mysteries lies in how he brings good out of bad experiences while opening doors where there were previously shut.

Another example is Joseph’s story in Egypt during a period of great famine. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, yet God used him in extraordinary ways to bring great power and help sustain his family through this period. Joseph used this position of great influence to save his family from starvation, fulfilling God’s plan in ways they could never have imagined that will benefit generations to come.

God also works in mysterious ways through strangely ominous directives he gives His people to complete seemingly pointless or meaningless tasks that seem pointless or irrelevant – like marching around Jericho instead of raiding it to attack it directly and take victory for themselves. Yet through doing it God fulfills His purpose: opening up ways for His people to achieve victory.

One of the key lessons from God’s mysterious ways is that He knows what’s best for us. He observes all that we do and every choice that we make; He knows our plans for our lives, and He’s always working towards fulfilling them; furthermore, He understands that mankind may not simply ignore or suppress Him but actively do so (Romans 1:18-20).

Trusting in God should be our primary motivation; He knows His plan for our lives and can guide us in overcoming any obstacles along our journeys for our good and His glory.

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