Summary: When the circumstances of life knock us down, the only sure footing we have is the Word of God and confidence in the providence of God.
The Providence Of God
Have you ever been swimming at the seashore and found yourself knocked down by the waves and suddenly you’re in trouble. You remember how that can happen if a big wave comes and knocks you down and you go in over your head. You begin to thrash around and panic. Everything is out of perspective. There isn’t anything that matters except getting back on your feet and catching your next breath.
You know life is like that. Sometimes we’re going along and suddenly we’re knocked down by some unexpected circumstance. Everything is out of focus and we begin gasping for our spiritual breath. Nothing seems to matter then except our circumstances.
• It may be a tragedy.
• It may be a physical illness.
• It may be that a relationship breaks up.
• It may be the plant where we are working is closing down.
• It may be our children are having problems.
• It may be our finances are in trouble.
• It could be one of a hundred things.
It may be that some of you here tonight are going through a trying circumstance. The important thing is knowing how to survive it and regaining our spiritual breath. The only sure footing we have is the Word of God and absolute confidence in the Providential Sovereignty of God.
I. What is meant by Divine Providence?
What is providence. Providence sums up the basic biblical teachings about God’s relationship to His World. Providence indicates God’s care for and supervision of all things, from the moment of creation on into eternity.
“Pro” means “before” --- “Video” means “to see” --- Providence means “to see before”
This means that God sees before and plans accordingly.
Providence means that God didn’t just create the world and then walk off and leave it. – like winding a clock and then letting it wind down.
Christians are convinced that God is in control of all things. (That is why we pray.) This doesn’t mean that we are puppets on “God’s string”. We make decisions and are responsible for those decisions. “Cause and effect” operates in the universe.
God is so great that He weaves together the choices of millions of human beings and waves of cause and effect and then blends them to be His purposes. God is in control. God uses “natural processes” to accomplish His will.
Do I understand election, foreknowledge, predestination, free will, or the “golden chain” of vs. 28and 29? NO!
But this I do know. With my limited human intelligence, perhaps God doesn’t expect me to. He just wants me to seek his will and follow him.
Illustration -- Several years ago I was reading a commentary on the Gospel of John written by John Mitchell. He had founded and pastured a great church in Portland Oregon. Out of his ministry came Multnomah Press and Multnomah School of the Bible. At the twilight of his life and ministry he was looking back upon his life and ministry over the past 50 years. His dream of 50 years ago had been fulfilled. Yet the Lord showed Dr. Mitchell something that day. The Lord seemed to say: John, it isn’t the end result that I was interested in was the process of getting here.” It was all that God had taken him and the ministry through that really mattered.
You see the aim and goal of the Christian life isn’t “what we do for God”. It is being conformed to the image of Christ.
What does belief in the providence of God mean for you and me? It means that we can never be victims of chance and that we have no need to fear the future.
III. Romans 8:28 – What Does It Mean
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
1. What It Does Not Mean.
a. Paul is not saying that whatever happens to a Christian is good. – A lot of bad things happen.
b. Paul doesn’t mean that God works out all things for our comfort, our convenience, our health, or
c. Paul is not saying, “Things will work out for the best” or that “things will work out good.”
2. A Closer Look
a. Look back at Vs. 18
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with
the glory which shall be revealed in us.
b. Look ahead to Vs. 35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or
famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the