When I was a kid living in Marion, Kentucky [Crittenden County] the word providence meant a neighboring town in Western Kentucky, in Webster County.
Today it means so much more. Today “providence” means God’s overflowing bounty and goodness for His creation. “God upholds His creatures in ordered existence,…guides and governs all events, circumstances and free acts of angels and men,…and directs everything to its appointed goal, for His own glory” [J.I. Packer in Bingham 49].
Wow, it sounds like God is worth praying to.
He is omnipotent.
Daniel 4:35 states “He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him ‘What have you done?’”. This is eternal power as seen in Psalms 145:13 “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.”
He is sovereign.
What if you asked God to do something and He responded “I would really like to help you with your problem but I can’t do it. I am frustrated as much as you are. Maybe tomorrow I will do what you ask. However, I may not be able to do it even then.” In other words, God is not really in control. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
God is really in control…
And here is where that opening word comes in. He is a providential God. God is friendly to His creation [including His creatures]. He has a goodness and moral perfection that cannot be denied.
Listen to the words of His son in Matthew 7: 9-11 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who seek him!” Do those words sound like they describe an unfriendly God?
I think not.
With omnipotence, sovereignty and providence, you have to wonder about what happens in life. People think they are lucky but with God’s providential care of His creation, there is no such thing as luck. There are no accidents, surprises of “curious turns of history.” People are not lucky; they are the recipients of God’s blessings. Many people have a hard time buying into this idea but it is that way if you believe in an omnipotent, sovereign and providential God.
Psalms 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
Even the little things that happen in life are the result of God’s actions in our lives, if we would only see them. Too often we are so involved with a fast-paced lifestyle we don’t have time to note His work on our behalf.
But He is there….
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” [Jeremiah 11-13].
Bingham says that your world history book should be prefaced with 2 Kings 19:25: “Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In the days of old, I planned it; now I have brought it to pass.”
Tap into God’s bounty and goodness for His creatures. Tap into it right now. We don’t have to wait until we die to experience the everlasting rewards of a loving God.
They are available.