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Providence

Providence – I love the word and the truth that it conveys. Our lives are not subject to luck, fate or chance. We are in the hands of a sovereign loving God.

One of my favorite quotes from the Bible is Paul’s statement in Romans 8:28 where he says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”

A few observations:

  • It doesn’t say “God causes all things.” He doesn’t. We make choices, as do other people, and those choices have consequences.
  • It doesn’t say, “All things are good.” They aren’t. War, rape, sickness and accidents aren’t good.
  • It doesn’t say, “All things work out the way we want them to” or “All things have a happy ending.” They don’t. Not every person is healed, not every student gets an ‘A’, not every married couple lives ‘happily ever-after’, and not every business person makes a million dollars. That’s the reality of life.
  • What is does say, is that “God causes all things” – the good, the bad, and the ugly – to work together for our ultimate good, because we love him and are called according to his purpose.

God is the master planner and the grand designer of everything – even using our pain, our mistakes and our failures to contribute to his ultimate purpose. As Joseph said when he was re-united with his brothers who betrayed him – “You meant it for evil (it was wrong and it hurt!) BUT God used it for good (I believe in providence!).” And this is something we know – we can be assured of if – not something we merely hope for.

This means that nothing is wasted with God – absolutely nothing. Take a moment to think back through your life – even at things that were painful and annoying at the time- and try to see God’s hand in redeeming those things for his purpose. Even the small things matter to God.

For instance, I remember taking an accounting course as part of a Diploma in Business Management that I completed many years ago. At the time, the pages and pages of detailed, lengthy hand-written double-entry accounting work I had to do was annoying and tedious (any accountant will understand). But now, because of that experience ... I am able to understand a financial statement at a ministry board meeting and I can take good care in managing our personal finances because I know what happens when I hit ‘enter’ on a transaction in my Quicken personal finance software program. Believe me ... nothing is wasted in God. Even the seemingly trivial.

Take a moment to appreciate the providence of God in your life ... and as you do, place your trust afresh in him ... whatever you may be going through.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6. NLT

Comments

Welcome back Mark.

Thank you for this encouraging reminder. How very true. All things work together for good..(I have this scripture carved in rock :) Every experience in our life (good or bad) is a blessing which helps us to learn and grow. Everything happens for God's glory... we can trust Him in every season and in every area of our lives. He works everything out for our ultimate good.

If I had this on a rock, it would be helpful to whack myself in the head with it about every 6 months, just as a little reminder.

The term 'providence' was quite commonly used in the 17&1800's. Many of the New Worlds explorers referred to the 'hand of Providence' frequently in their logs...Such was the pervading 'Christian' world view of the time ... I think as Christians it is definitely a term we could reintroduce into our day today language.. great subject!

I love this post. So often I get lost in my present circumstances and lament but later with the wisdom of hindsight, I see that those trials help to build my character and to take the easy way out is not the answer. To blame God for my misfortunes is even less constructive. He allowed it and it's for me to find out the whys and to learn under His Grace. Thanks for the post, Mark.

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