"My Father Knows All about It"
James Smith, 1859
A short time ago, three boys were busy discussing some question, as they went along the street, and it appeared to interest and excite them very much. At length one of them, a shrewd sharp little fellow, full of life and fire exclaimed, "My father knows all about it!" He was evidently pleased with the idea of his father's knowledge. How much we may learn from children. How much better it would be for us, if we were more childlike. Oh, that we realized more fully, that God is our father, that he is interested in all that concerns us; and that we are interested in, and shall be benefitted by all that is known or possessed by him! How it would calm the mind, soothe the troubled heart, and embolden the timid spirit.
There is my friend George Hall, he finds the dispensations of divine providence exceedingly trying. One loss follows another, until he is ready to conclude that the last penny will go. Business is flat, and dark dense clouds hang over him. In his domestic circle, his house is not with God as he has prayed and desired. Sharks and sharpers, have got hold of him, and he feels confounded, and wonders where the scene will end. He often finds comfort in the means of grace, in the word of God, and in secret prayer; but the clouds return after the rain. At times his heart is ready to burst, his intellect seems to reel, and he cries out, "Lord, why is this?"
There appears to be no bright light in the cloud, or rainbow in the storm—but all is dark, dreary, and depressing. Brother George, "your father knows all about it." It is in all his plan, and forms part of his purpose. If you are taken by surprise, he is not. He has fixed the end, an end worthy of his wisdom, mercy, and love; and has arranged all the steps that lead to that end. If you could but see his entire plan, you would be perfectly satisfied; more, you would be delighted at the wisdom and goodness, displayed in it.
Your present trials, are but answers to your prayers, they form a ladder, up which you pass step by step to glory. They weary you—but your weariness will only prepare you for the rest that remains for the people of God. They wean you from the world, and it is necessary you should be weaned, that you may be glad, to go home when you are sent for. In the well-ordered covenant, strength for the day is provided, grace sufficient for you is laid up, and an expected end is fixed. Your good is secured. Not only at the end—but along the way. Hence it is written, "We know that all things work together for good, to those who love God; to those who are called according to his purpose." Courage, then, brother, "father knows all about it;" and having loved us with an everlasting love, having put us among his children—he will not allow anything really to harm us!
Samuel Adams has got meddling with the deep things of God, and is more taken up with philosophy, than with the facts and plain statements of God's most holy word. He is in the whirlpool of mystery, trying to unravel by reason, what is to be simply received by faith. He wants to reconcile man's responsibility, and God's sovereignty. To arrange all the doctrines and duties of Christianity in nice order, and make out a complete system. But he cannot do it. One part will seem to clash with the other, and now he feels inclined to strip God of his adorable sovereignty, and then to reduce man to a mere machine.
Friend Samuel, "your father knows all about it," but you do not. The Bible is God's book, it contains all that he has been pleased to reveal. There are in it, things which angels do not fully understand. The most important, is the most plain. The way of salvation is so simple, that the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein. Clusters of comfort hang so low, that the least child in God's family can reach them. The streams of consolation flow so gently, and so near, that any thirsty soul can drink of them. In the valleys are all manner of trees for food, enough and to spare; and everyone can pluck and eat. On the hill top there are also some precious fruits—but the sides are steep, the height is great, and the light there is dazzling; so that few comparatively can reach the summit, enjoy the views, and relish the produce.
Looking up from below, we cannot trace the entire road, or see clearly the connection of the parts; and looking down from above, we cannot perceive the harmony of the great whole. We can see something of the top from the bottom, and we can see the bottom from the top—but much that is intermediate we must leave.
"Our father knows all about it," but we must be satisfied to know in part at present; looking forward and expecting, that when that which is perfect has come, then shall we know, even as also we are known. Let it comfort us to think that our father knows the whole, and that he will make all plain to us by and bye; and in the confidence of this, let us be satisfied to believe what we cannot harmonize, if it is clearly stated in God's blessed word.
Anthony Ottway is very much tried by a class of men who seem determined to do him all the injury they can. Their designs are against him for evil, and their plans are cleverly drawn. He appears to he like the bird in the snare of the fowler, and how to extricate himself—he cannot tell. He is almost weary of his life, and is often tempted to cry out, "O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at rest!" He has called upon God—but obtains no answer. Again and again has he expected deliverance—but has been disappointed; and now, like David, he is ready in a fit of unbelief to say, "As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death!" Or a step between me and ruin.
Fear not, Anthony, do not give way to despondency, "your Father knows all about it!" He will turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. He will make a way for your escape. He will appear to your joy, and every enemy shall be confounded. He knows their designs against you, his eye is on the plans they have formed to injure you, and he will curb their tongues, control their passions, blast their purposes, and overrule all for your good. There is no darkness or shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves, or conceal their purposes, from his eye. Therefore wait on the Lord, trust also in him; and he will appear for you. Then those who are your enemies shall see it, and be ashamed, and shame shall cover those who said unto you, "Where is the Lord your God?"
Beloved, the perfect knowledge that God has of all people and things; of all that has been, is, or can be—is a subject full of comfort to us, for he will certainly employ his knowledge, as well as his wisdom, for our welfare. Our heavenly Father knows all about us, our tempers, dispositions, and infirmities. He knows every good desire, and every evil inclination. He knows our conflict with corruption, and our struggling with our foes. He knows all the people and circumstances by which we are surrounded, and the varied influences to which we are exposed.
Every enemy plans, purposes, and schemes against us—under his eye; and he says, "I will frustrate your plans, and cross your designs, for whereas you think to do them ill—you shall really do them good." Every loss occurs under his eye, nor can a penny go without his permission; and though we may think we have not enough, he considers that we have just enough. Therefore, as to the dark things of his providence, and the deep things of his grace, let us leave them to him, believing that all is right, and attend to his loving admonition, "O fear the Lord, you his saints; for there is no lack to those who fear him!" Gracious Lord, fill us with humility, that we may yield to your providence, bow to your word, and believe in your love—happen what may!