A Working God
Simple commands, when obeyed, lead to glorious miracles.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Doing alright? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. We’re in the second chapter of the Gospel of John. Last time we got together, we reminded you that God often uses things and circumstances that are right at hand in order to accomplish his own purpose. He said to, “Moses, what is that in thine hand?” Jesus said to the disciples, “How many loaves have ye?” God uses what you have, not what you don’t have to do his work. And we took up the idea that simple commands, once obeyed lead to miracle.
You don’t have to make the Christian life complex and mysterious. It’s a very simple matter of doing what God tells you to do. Whatsoever is set unto you, do it. Simple commands, “Fill these up with water.” Nothing remarkable about that. An empty clay container holding several gallons each, six of them, he said, “Fill ’em up.” Now they didn’t have running water in those days so that the servants had to take smaller containers, go to the nearest well, draw the water, come back, pour it into the container. This took several trips. There’s work involved. Don’t back off from the will of God because it involves hard work. I’m afraid that in these days work has become something to get out of. You interview people, they wanna know how long is the coffee break and how much vacation will I get in my first year, and will I get so much more the next year, and so on and what are the retirement benefits. That’s the mindset, the framework, the mental framework within which many people exist nowadays. Work is something to get out of.
But when God touches your life, work will be something that you enjoy because you are doing it for Him. “Whatsoever ye do,” said Paul, “do it heartily.” Psyched up, excited. Heartily as for the Lord and not just for people knowing that it’s from the Lord that you’ll receive the reward of the inheritance for you served the Lord Christ. Work can be touched with glory because it’s done at the command of the Lord of glory. You’re workin’ for Jesus today? Or for yourself? It’s pretty good question to think about, isn’t it? Work is not something to get out of. Work is something that can be done for Him and in so doing, touched with his glory. And I like that.
Simple commands when obeyed lead to miracle. Just do the simple things God is asking you to do today, step by step. See what happens.
Well, the servants did this and our Lord Jesus said, “No, you bring us sample of that to the master of ceremonies.” And when he tasted it, he said to the bridegroom, “Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: But thou hast kept the good wine until now.” God’s way is the best way.
You leave the choice with God and it’ll always turn out to be the best. And you may not understand what’s going on at the time. You may look up and say, “God, why do you do this to me?”
I did that one August night when I had suffered a collision with a car that came out of the darkness and hit my little Model T Ford Coupe, turned it over. It developed that this had been a stolen car that hit me, no lights, no license, and the driver ran off into the darkness. And when I climbed out of the wreck I wasn’t injured. Flying glass had not cut me and the shock of a turned over car hadn’t hurt me as I climbed out of the side window. But all my garage tools had scattered from the impact and all the little boys and girls in the neighborhood had been taught that opportunity knocks but once. So by the time I climbed out of the wreck I was also out of business so far as repairing cars. College boy that I was. I was in the business of buying and selling cars so I could get enough money to go to college, to Wheaton College.
And so I stood there beside that 1927 Model T Coupe. [chuckle] Oh, in a minute, helpful neighbors were going to get under it and turn it back over onto its four wheels again. And later on, I was going to have it towed into the garage parking lot just across the street there in Chicago on Flournoy Street. And I was gonna take the wreck of the car that hit me, which happened also to be a Model T, and I was going to use the drive shaft, and the differential, and the rear wheels of that car to replace the damaged part of my car, all of that would happen. But just then as I climbed out of the wreck, I looked up into that August sky and said, “God, why do you do this to me? Why?” [chuckle]
I remember Torrey Johnson, my brother-in-law, came along. Someone had alerted him to the fact that his… Well, I wasn’t his brother-in-law then, I was his choir leader and I was dating his sister-in-law. He came over and looked at my car. He didn’t say anything but just one word. [chuckle] You wanna know what it was? [chuckle] He looked at me and he said, “Junk.” That’s all he said. That was a great comfort, you can imagine. My, my.
Lord, why? Why? And you know what happened? Now you must realize that two years at Moody Bible Institute were filled not only with study but also with music for I had had years of violin lessons and was a pretty decent fiddler at that point. And so, I was often, almost daily sometimes, playing on the Moody’s radio station. And these were the old days when the microphone was filled with carbon granules and you had to tap the microphone in order to make sure those carbon granules were loose and so that you’d have decent production before you went on. See, this was in the 28s and 30s. So I’d had two years of music, mostly. Hadn’t done any preaching. I gave a testimony now and again in gospel meetings and I did the required amount of what was then, I guess still is, called Practical Christian Work: Calling in hospitals, going to missions, going to jails, going door-to-door calling, all of that. I learned those things, but I hadn’t done any preaching.
As a matter of fact, when I graduated from the Moody Bible Institute, I went back home to Toledo, Ohio, and the dear old pastor, Pastor George Bates, announced, “Our Brother Cook has been at Bible Institute, he will preach the sermon on Sunday morning.” And then I got up on Sunday morning and spoke for a few minutes and ran out of anything to say and said, “Amen,” and sat down. Well, that wasn’t the thing to do. You’re supposed to last for at least 20 minutes or maybe a half hour, and so the pastor got up and finished the time. Between the time I sat down and the time to quit, like 12:00 noon, he finished that with the remnant of one of his own sermons and then dismissed the people. And there I sat on the front row and he came down and looked at me sadly, and he said, “My dear brother, I don’t know. I just don’t know.” [chuckle] What he meant was, “I don’t know if you’ll ever make it as a preacher.” Well, he’s right. [chuckle] There wasn’t much there.
That’s what had preceded this occasion on an August night. You understand me? Yes, I was in music. Yes, I was directing the choir. Yes, I was still playing my violin. Yes, I had a heart for the things of God. I hadn’t backslidden. But you know something? After that wreck, strangely, strangely, I began to think, “Why can’t I do something in rescue missions? Why can’t I go for souls and see some people saved? I’m gonna find out.” And so, I went on down to skid row and stopped at a little mission just off of Madison street, on Union street. It was called Union Gospel Mission, I don’t believe it’s there anymore. I went in and said to the two maiden ladies who ran the mission, I said, “You know, I’ve been thinking and praying about whether or not I could find some place where I could just give out the gospel and see people saved. Do you have any opening like that in your program?” “Oh,” they said, “you’re an answer to prayer. We’ve just been praying for somebody to take every Tuesday night. You can have every Tuesday night!”
Well, the following Tuesday I was there and I led the singing, and I played the special music, and I took the offering, and I preached. And wonderfully, wonderfully, people came forward to take Christ as Savior. I preached from the first chapter of John, incidentally. I can look at that one text that I used and remember that that was the first time I really preached and went for souls, and people came to Christ. Well, a few days later, one of the deacons at Messiah Baptist Church, where I was working with Torrey Johnson, I was the choir leader, one of the deacons came up to me and he said, “Say,” he said, “Cook,” he said, “something is different about you. Something’s going on. What is it with you? You’re different.” [chuckle] I said, “I don’t know, brother,” I said. “I’m just happy in the Lord.”
But you see, what had happened was God used the trauma of an event I didn’t understand to change the direction of my life. I never really got back seriously into the garage business after that accident. Oh, I worked around for awhile, borrowed some tools and bought a few more, and did a few more garage jobs, and serviced my own junk cars that I drove as a college boy. I did that, but I never really got seriously into it anymore because I was busy preaching the gospel. I lined up not only that Tuesday night at Union Gospel Mission, but Friday nights at the Chicago Gospel Mission, 1340 West Madison was their address in those days, I think they’ve moved it now a little farther west.
So the two nights a week I was at the rescue missions preaching and everyday going to Wheaton College, commuting from Chicago to Wheaton. So I was busy in the things of the Lord. Never really got back into the other work. God turned me around using a wreck on an August night to do His will. Will I look back and would I rather go back to what I had before that car came out of the darkness to strike my vehicle? No, I wouldn’t wanna go back. I’m so glad that God did what He did and how He lit a fire in my heart that has never yet gone out as the years went by.
So, God’s way is the best way. You leave the choice with him. He’ll give you the best. Remember what the master of ceremonies said, “Thou has kept the best until now.” You and I will be saying the same thing if we give God the chance to work.
Blessed Father, work in our lives today, work through the ordinary, work through the shock waves, work through the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit speaking in our hearts, but work thy will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio. Walk with the King today, and be a blessing.
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