God’s Hidden Ways
In this first chapter of The Liberating Secret, Norman Grubb speaks of his pursuit of the Total Truth and delves into God’s hidden ways “hidden yet now made manifest to His saints.”
“With all thy getting, get understanding,” wrote Solomon. For some, maybe, a simple experience and simple faith are enough, but I have never found it so. From the time of my initial experience of Christ forty years ago, when: “it pleased God to reveal His Son in me,” to the present day, there has been an exhaustless inner compulsion to seek and find “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” It has been a glorious and rewarding pursuit, for “then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.” It has been “O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone.” There were periods of deep confusion and darkness, when I seemed to myself to be an atheist in mind, while a believer in heart; but it is a long, hazardous climb which is rewarded at last with the marvelous views of the Delectable Mountains. I can appreciate now why Paul so constantly prayed that the saints would have the eyes of their understanding enlightened, that their love would abound more and more in knowledge, that they might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; and why Peter prayed that grace and peace should be multiplied to us through the knowledge of God, and that we should grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
There are two levels of spiritual knowledge. The first is just enough for the exercise of a saving or sanctifying faith, the faith which comes only by hearing, and that hearing only by the word of God. That does not need much knowledge, just the few simple facts concerning salvation, upon which faith can lean its weight. We are saved and know it, but cannot say much more about it than the blind man whom Jesus healed: “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” But we are to advance beyond that, the Scriptures tell us. We are to be teachers of others, as well as testifiers (Heb. 5:12), and no teacher can teach without sound knowledge of his subject. This means an altogether higher standard of knowledge, only attained by persistent searching. So the spiritual ascent is knowledge, experience, knowledge: the first knowledge is simple, glorious, but elementary; the second also simple, but this time because it has mastered its subject. It is this fullness of knowledge, of course, which the Apostles pray that the saints may attain. The first kind suffices to put us on the road and keeps us walking on it, though rather uncertainly; the second kind gives us the firm and confident walk to the end, as well as the ability to help others on it.
The difference is also seen in the Psalmist’s words: “He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel.” To know a man’s acts and benefit by them is easy. That does not take much knowledge. But to know a man’s ways by which he performs those acts, and to be able to perform the same ourselves, is quite another thing. I may see the chair a carpenter makes, put my trust in it and sit safely on it; but if you ask me to make a chair!–It takes me two seconds to know his acts, but maybe five years to know his ways! If I merely benefit by a carpenter’s acts, I am all right until the chair breaks, then what? If I have learned a carpenter’s ways, I am safe, come weal or woe, and can benefit others as well! So also, if like a little child, I know my Heavenly Father’s acts of grace through Christ, I am all right while the sun shines; but when the storms blow–defeat, crisis, powerlessness–what do I do? That was just the experience of Israel, who know God’s acts of redemption in bringing them out of Egypt; but what when there was no bread or water in the wilderness? If I know God’s ways, however: if I have learned the secrets of the sanctuary, the “mystery hid from ages and from generations,” storm and sunshine, darkness and light, lack and abundance are all alike to me, for I have found the fount which never runs dry, the light that never goes out, the cruse of oil that never fails, and I can not only find my own supply, but meet the need of others. So Moses, the one among the many, knew God’s ways and could teach and feed and lead a multitude forty years.
So it is now in these pages that I want to pursue with you God’s hidden ways, hidden, yet now made manifest to His saints. I want to share with you the pearl of great price. I don’t want to skim on the surface, for the reason I have already told you, that the surface never satisfied me. “Dwell deep,” said the prophet, for the Spirit has come to reveal “the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10), and deep calls unto deep in each of us, as we “speak that we do know and testify that we have seen” of heavenly things.
We will pursue our way stage by stage, not hurriedly, seeking to weigh each phase of the one truth, as we come to it, and clarify it, and make it fit into the completed picture, until we can swing out along the highway of holiness, the perfect way of God, with confident tread, with “full assurance of understanding,” with the shout of a king in our mouths, strong both to run our race as winners, and to make straight paths for many another whose hands hang down or whose knees are feeble.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 33 No 1
- Cross Word
- Faith Illustrations
- Faith Notes
- Question & Answer
- Excerpt from The Spontaneous You
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- I love one whom I don’t like…
- God’s Hidden Ways
- Christ in Congo Forests: Mission History
- Bible Bedrock
- A Letter from Norman
- Life: The What, The Who, The Why
- Interpreting the Crisis
- Editor’s Note