‘God moves in mysterious ways. His wonders to perform.’ These are lines from a hymn by 18th-century hymn writer William Cowper. Those opening words came back to my mind recently in a most remarkable way, involving a letter.
Labor Day weekend 2017 was a special weekend for our family and our church. It was the occasion of the wedding of our eldest grandson Mitchel Plaisted to a beautiful young lady Katie Travis. I had the honor and privilege to officiate at the wedding, which was held at our church, Church on the Hill.
At the reception that followed, Mitchel’s mother Joy was one of the people who shared stories and memories. It was then she talked about ‘The Letter.’
“Each of the boys in our family, including Mitchel, participated in competitive swimming. Hayley, although she did try competitive swimming for one season, decided that ballet was her passion. So, as soon as she was the old enough, she started dancing with Reign Dance Theater, which is a Christian dance theater company. Being a busy homeschooling mom of four children, my husband David often found himself driving the kids to their activities, including taking Hayley to ballet. It was then that David met the Travis family and Katie.
“A couple years later, in June of 2010, David came to me with a unique request. He felt that God wanted him to write a letter to Katie and her sister Karissa. Father’s Day was approaching and although he didn’t know them that well and it was somewhat abnormal for a married man to write to two young single ladies, he felt impressed that he should write to them as a dad would write to his daughter. After talking with him, I agreed that he should write the letter.
“The letter began this way, ‘I want you to know that if I were your dad I would be extremely proud of you. If Hayley grows up to be anything like the example you have shown her I could not ask for better. You have a beauty, strength, and excellence about you. As a father myself, I would be honored to have a daughter like you. Know that your Heavenly Father and Hayley’s father love and respect you.’
“The letter then changed topics as he started to write about dating and marriage, giving some fatherly advice. He ended with these words, ‘I believe with all my heart that God is preparing you for someone. I also believe that at the same time God is working in the heart of some young man preparing him to be a blessing for you. He is shaping his heart by His own hand and through life’s experiences, forming him to be blessed by you and to be a blessing to you. God is working in two hearts, fashioning them to beat as one in life and ministry.’
“Nine months later, David suddenly died. He was not aware that the young man he was talking about in this letter was his own son Mitchel or that Katie would one day become his daughter in law.
Joy went on to say, “But God knew. Before either of you had even met, God was preparing you for each other. God was using the experiences of your lives, both joy, and sorrow, to shape and mold you, to have you ready for the other. God was, as David wrote, ‘working in two hearts, fashioning them to beat as one in life and ministry.”
Well, there it is. The story of the ‘The Letter.’ God certainly works in mysterious ways. His wonders to perform. And to Him be the glory for He does all things well.
Let me finish with the words of the hymn by William Cowper. May they encourage you to believe and expect that God can also work in a mysterious and miraculous way in your life.
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 sov’reign 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 flow’r.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.