In my post today, I would like to share with you some thoughts on one of my favorite subjects...the providence of God. First of all, exactly what is the theological definition? Providence is the means by which God controls all things--both animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, good and evil—toward a worthy purpose, which means His will must finally prevail. In Ephesians 1:11, Paul tells us that God “works all things after the counsel of His own will.” Our God is running the universe today, friends, even though there are some who think that it has slipped out from under Him. I know that my God, the God of all creation, is still seated on His throne in full control of all happenings.
There are three areas to examine when we are trying to understand the providence of God in relationship to man and the overall universe.
The first area is creation. The only way we, as Christians, will ever understand and accept how this universe began is by faith. God brought this universe into existence, and the only way we are going to know and understand this is by revelation. “...Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
The second area is preservation. What a great word! This universe is held together by God's preservation. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ “upholds all things by the word of His power.” I have the pleasure of teaching Old Testament Survey to the seventh and eighth grades at Riverbend Academy. With the seventh grade, we began in the beginning, literally. We see these first two areas in action repeatedly in Genesis and Exodus.
First of all, God's purposeful creation was spoken into existence. He ensured the preservation of man even while enacting judgment against the world. The Bible illustrates the constant proving of men, strong in their faith, willing to follow God's instructions through that faith. I find it both refreshing and encouraging when students are able to discern how God is moving and directing events and the Biblical outcomes. Do not underestimate the ability of your child to comprehend facts and formulate their own opinions.
Then in Exodus, God raises up a man to deliver His chosen nation to their promised home; He preserves and protects them from certain death, time after time--leading and abiding with them constantly, providing them with food when hungry and giving them water when thirsty. Most important of all, He gave them mercy when they did not deserve it.
The third, and final area, to consider is providence. If you look up the word providence it means “to provide”. There is no such thing as chance or blind fate...but there is a providence which guides and governs the world. God has provided for all of us and will continue to do so. John 1:29 says, “He was the Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world”. God orders all outcomes and events of things, after the counsel of His own will, and to His glory!
One of my favorite analogies about God's providence is the rudder on a ship. Although it is never seen when the ship is in motion, that unseen rudder-so small compared to the overall size of the ship-controls the direction, destination, and safety of that vessel and all on board. So it is in your own life. God is the very hand in the glove of our life's events. I once heard someone say that “God makes great doors swing on small hinges.” We, my friends, those small hinges are capable of the great things we accomplish in our lives only by His providence.
If you think back on events in your life, both large and small, where a different condition or decision would have drastically changed your life, you were experiencing providence. That was the hand of God directing your destiny.
John Griffin, Ed.D.
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