God being behind the scenes implies that, although we don’t see Him when situations are unfolding, He is orchestrating the details. What an encouragement for the children of God! Nothing happening to us takes Him by surprise. He is either orchestrating or permitting it; regardless, He is in full control and will work it out for our good and for His glory. Amazing! There is absolutely no reason to worry. Our Father is aware and is working it out!
Below is an illustration of this truth. The children of Israel during the time of Samuel the prophet, insisted they wanted a king to rule over them, just like the neighboring nations. The prophet Samuel, tried to dissuade them, since God was their King. When they wouldn’t listen, God instructed Samuel to honor their request (see 1 Samuel 8:4-7, 19-20).
God had by then decided who the king was going to be – Saul, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin. The account went like this: Kish’s donkeys went missing, so he instructed Saul to search for them (see 1 Samuel 9:3). Saul and the servant who accompanied him searched for days without success; Saul suggested giving up the search and going back home, but the servant suggested they consult the prophet (Seer) who lived in town. Saul didn't want to, as they had no money to offer the prophet. Amazingly, the servant had a silver coin they could offer to the prophet (see 1 Samuel 9:6-9).
As soon as they agreed to go and talk to the prophet, they met some young girls who gave them directions. The first person they encountered after they received directions from the young girls was the prophet Samuel himself (see 1 Samuel 9:12-14). Meanwhile, God had said to Samuel the day before, “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him to be the leader of my people, Israel” (1 Samuel 9:16 NLT). Just before these gentlemen met, God said to Samuel, “That’s the man I told you about. He will rule my people” (1 Samuel 9:17 NLT).
Before Samuel met Saul, based on what God had already told him, the prophet made plans to dine with him. Samuel sent Saul and the servant up to the place of worship to wait for him, as well as put their minds at ease about the lost donkeys; he told them they’d been found. By the end of the story, Saul had been anointed the first king of Israel by Samuel, who announced, “I am doing this because the Lord has anointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession” (1 Samuel 10:1).
If you need to, re-read the account and ask yourself: Why did the donkeys go missing? Why was Saul included in the search party? Why didn’t Kish just send only servants: after all, isn't that what servants are for? Why did the servant have money on him? Why did Saul listen to the servant’s suggestion to consult the prophet? He was the son, and didn’t have to listen to a servant. Why did the two men encounter people who knew exactly where Samuel was and how long he was going to be there? Why was Samuel the first man they met? Were all these details coincidences? I don’t think so! On the contrary, God was working behind the scenes, making things happen at the right time; it was like puzzle pieces coming together for a perfect fit.
The same can be learned from the story of Jonah. God sent Jonah to Nineveh. He got on a ship that was going in a different direction, thinking he was running away from God. There was a violent storm at sea, the sailors threw cargo overboard to lighten the ship. Not wanting to perish, they followed Jonah’s suggestion – they threw him overboard. A great fish swallowed Jonah and later spit him out. Jonah got a second call from God, and this time he obeyed! He preached to Nineveh, “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” (Jonah 3:4 NLT). The people repented!
Why was there a storm at sea? Why did the sailors ask Jonah to pray? Why did Jonah ask to be thrown overboard, and why didn’t Jonah drown, but instead got swallowed by a fish? God used Jonah’s disobedience to get the attention of the sailors. For sure, God was working behind the scenes; He got Jonah’s attention, but also the attention of the sailors – they prayed, sacrificed, and made vows to Him.
Similarly with us, God is working out the details of our lives every day; nothing is happening to us by chance, accident, or luck. The key to coping calmly with our circumstances while we wait for God’s intervention is to trust and obey Him. Our God is always in control, and is the only One who can make a positive difference in our lives. When we trust that God is in control, and that He has our best interest at heart, we will overcome our fears and worries (see Jeremiah 29:11). Obeying Him in whichever way He directs us is the indication that we love and trust Him (see 1 John 5:3). The hymnist admonishes us to trust and obey God, because “There’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”