“What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.”

John 13:7

Our thought for today is very appropriate for the hour in which we are living. The context in which our key verse appears sets before us the final hours of Jesus’ life before His crucifixion. As our Lord gathered His followers together for what we commonly call the last supper, at its conclusion, He girded Himself with a towel and began to wash the disciples’ feet. When He came to Peter, Peter questioned the Lord as to His actions. How many of us are in that same position today? Questioning what is happening around us. Jesus’ response to Peter was: “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” There are several truths we can glean from this passage of Scripture.

First and foremost, He is Working“What I do.” Often it is easy for us to assume that things have spun out of control. Our world seems to have turned upside down. With the unpredictable nature of the pestilence in our midst, the chaos of rioting in the streets, the anarchy of defunding law enforcement, the continuing shutdown of a majority of the economy, and encroaching perils to liberty and freedom, it appears that everything is falling apart. But we must remember that God is still on the throne! He is in control and nothing can transpire outside of His permission.

This then brings us to a second truth seen in this passage, We are Wondering“thou knowest not now.” Our natural minds ask the great question, “If God is in control, then why are all these things happening?” In the occasion spoken of in the text, Peter had no clue as to what the Lord was trying to do. And by the way, that is usually the position in which we find ourselves. We often do not understand what God is doing, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). We must acknowledge that God’s ways are not always easily discerned or understood by mere mortals.

So, a third truth reminds us that We are Waiting“thou shalt know hereafter.” This is the place where faith becomes essential. As Charles Spurgeon observed in his sermon, ‘A Happy Christian,’ The Christian believes that God is “too wise to err and too good to be unkind; he trusts Him where he cannot trace Him, looks up to Him in the darkest hour, and believes that all is well.”[1] Charles Tindley expressed this truth in his well-known gospel song entitled “We’ll Understand It Better.”

We are often tossed and driven
On the restless sea of time,
Sombre skies and howling tempests
Oft succeed a bright sunshine,
In that land of perfect day,
When the midst have rolled away,
We will understand it better by and by.[2]

But We must be Willing“Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me” (John 13:8). If we are not willing to yield to His plan, we will never see What He has in store. As we journey through life, we must accept the truth that we cannot always comprehend the ways of God. And though we may ask for understanding, we must be willing to recognize that God is not obligated to explain His plan to us. It is not our will that should prevail, but God’s will. In the life of the believer there should be a continual deference to the will of God; even as our Lord prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42).

Finally, if we will wait upon God to complete His plan, I believe that We will be Witnessing “He hath done all things well” (Mark 7:37). These were the words of those who had watched the Savior work. Their judgment came after Jesus had healed one who was deaf and had a speech impediment. After the Lord was finished with His work, they said He had done all things well. Let’s be careful not to pass judgment before the thing is finished. May we remind ourselves often of the words of the Psalmist, “As for God, his way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30).

What tho’ the way be lonely
And dark the shadows fall;
I know where’er it leadeth,
My Father planned it all.
I sing through the shade and the sunshine,
I’ll trust Him whatever befall;
I sing for I cannot be silent –
My Father planned it all.[3]

[1] The Spurgeon Center, 6 Quotes Spurgeon Didn’t Say, spurgeon.org, accessed 7/20/20
[2] Charles A. Tindley, “We’ll Understand It Better” in All American Church Hymnal, (Nashville, John T. Benson Publishing Co.) no. 140.
[3] H. H. Pierson, “My Father Planned It All” in Songs and Hymns of Revival, (Santa Clara, North Valley Publications, 1999), no. 290.

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Craig Burcham, GSBC Faculty

Bro. Burcham served as the Chairman of the Bible Department at Golden State Baptist College before answering the call to pastor the Mountain Vista Baptist Church in Sierra Vista, AZ. Pastor Burcham travels each week to teach the next generation at GSBC. Before coming to GSBC, he served as a missionary with his family in Japan for several years and then pastored in Missouri.