Summary: Exploring the marvellous providence of God in the Christian's life.
The Providence Of God
Romans 8:18-28 "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. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, [then] do we with patience wait for [it]. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God. 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.."
We live in a nation and a world that has gone gambling mad. We can lay claim to the dubious honor of having the highest incidence of gambling in every form and format of any people upon earth. We can boast of the highest per capita gambling expenditure in all the world. We can also proudly point to the resultant highest rate of gambling addiction leading to the most severe socioeconomic problems one might imagine. It is indeed refreshing that one parlaimentarian is demanding something be done about the proliferation of poker machines in the nation and there seems to be a debate going on about the addictive harm of gambling.
It seems those who advocate such soul destroying activity view life as just a matter of fortune or luck. It does seem we live in a world that assumes that life is just one great lottery. That anything that happens is the luck of the draw.
Do you believe in luck? Good or bad? Have you ever considered yourself to be lucky? Have you ever said to someone who was facing a crisis or an important moment in life, "Good luck!" Such terminology should not grace a Christian's speech. Why? Because it attributes the good things that happen in this world to an imagined god of luck. In doing so, it denies that our Creator God is sovereign and the author and giver of all good things: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures." (James 1:17-18)
We who are His children know that life's not like that. We know that our Father is a God of providence. We know the real truth of Paul's statement when he said, "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.."
But just what is providence? How is it to be defined? I like this definition I ran across recently, "God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures."
An illustration of such providence can be found in this true story published by Paul Harvey a number of years ago:
"Normally all the choir members came early to Wednesday night practice at West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska. But one night, March 1, 1950, they all had excuses for being late. The church pianist overslept on her after-dinner nap, so she and her mother were late. A high school sophomore was having trouble with her homework. One couple couldn't get their car started. They, and those they were to pick up, were subsequently late. All eighteen choir members, including the pastor and his wife, were late. All had good excuses. At 7:30, the time the choir rehearsal was to begin, not one soul was in the choir loft. This had never happened before. At precisely the time at which the choir would have been singing, the gas leak was ignited by the church furnace and the whole church blew up. The furnace room was right below the choir loft!"