Summary: How we respond to God's providence in our lives is one important measure of spiritual maturity.
If there was ever a man who had a right to question his circumstances, it was Job, whose story bears his name in the Old Testament. Job lost his children, his health, and everything he owned—all without a single word of explanation from God. Did he grieve? Yes. Did he ask why? Yes. Did he cease to praise his God? Not for a second (Job 1:20-22; 2:10).
When we encounter pain and loss, God understands our expressions of grief. And if we hold onto the fact of His faithfulness, we grow through these circumstances and we become better able to say with Job, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
God’s providence—His intricate orchestration of everything—is evident in every passage of Scripture. There is no Bible doctrine more pervasive. How we respond to His providence in our lives is one important measure of spiritual maturity. So let’s take a few moments to understand the importance of this doctrine and why we do best to respond to it—to Him—with gratitude and praise.
1. Because of Providence You Are the Way You Are
a. Your body, personality, and abilities are all carefully designed to accomplish God’s perfect will in your life and in the world (Psalm 139:13, 16). Whether you realize it or not, you are living proof that God loves His creation; He values you exactly as He made you, and He will see that both His glory and your good emerge as you trust and follow Him.
b. All circumstances that lie out of your control—such as your parentage, your economic status, your opportunities—are also part of God’s carefully orchestrated plan (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). God never makes mistakes. He never takes pleasure in the pain of His children. But He continuously orchestrates the details of your life to accomplish His good will.
Praise Him as He works in and through your life (Psalm 40:1-3).
2. Because of Providence You Are Constantly Cared For
Thank Him for everything—literally everything (Ephesians 5:20).
3. Because of Providence Your Prayers Are Answered
Every word, every whimper, every thought—your Father hears them (Psalm 139:3-4). When your words are inadequate, God’s Spirit translates your intentions (Romans 8:26-27). And God has woven your prayers and His answers into His plan since eternity past. He always answers the prayers of His children—sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes wait, sometimes with a response we never could have imagined—always for His glory and for our good.
Pray to Him continuously, knowing that He always hears, understands, and answers (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
4. Because of Providence Your Hardships Have Purpose
No pain, no gain? Maybe not always. But through much of our lives, it seems that’s the way God operates. Sometimes He exercises His direct, loving Parental hand of discipline to perfect and mature us (Hebrews 12:5-11). Sometimes He allows other influences to challenge and exercise our faith, also for our growing strength and maturity (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-9).
Rest and know that nothing can affect you, except what your Father allows (1 Corinthians 10:13).