Providence – I love the word and the truth that it conveys. Our lives are not subject to luck, fate or chance. We are in the hands of a sovereign loving God.
One of my favorite quotes from the Bible is Paul’s statement in Romans 8:28 where he says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”
A few observations:
- It doesn’t say “God causes all things.” He doesn’t. We make choices, as do other people, and those choices have consequences.
- It doesn’t say, “All things are good.” They aren’t. War, rape, sickness and accidents aren’t good.
- It doesn’t say, “All things work out the way we want them to” or “All things have a happy ending.” They don’t. Not every person is healed, not every student gets an ‘A’, not every married couple lives ‘happily ever-after’, and not every business person makes a million dollars. That’s the reality of life.
- What is does say, is that “God causes all things” – the good, the bad, and the ugly – to work together for our ultimate good, because we love him and are called according to his purpose.
God is the master planner and the grand designer of everything – even using our pain, our mistakes and our failures to contribute to his ultimate purpose. As Joseph said when he was re-united with his brothers who betrayed him – “You meant it for evil (it was wrong and it hurt!) BUT God used it for good (I believe in providence!).” And this is something we know – we can be assured of if – not something we merely hope for.
This means that nothing is wasted with God – absolutely nothing. Take a moment to think back through your life – even at things that were painful and annoying at the time- and try to see God’s hand in redeeming those things for his purpose. Even the small things matter to God.
For instance, I remember taking an accounting course as part of a Diploma in Business Management that I completed many years ago. At the time, the pages and pages of detailed, lengthy hand-written double-entry accounting work I had to do was annoying and tedious (any accountant will understand). But now, because of that experience … I am able to understand a financial statement at a ministry board meeting and I can take good care in managing our personal finances because I know what happens when I hit ‘enter’ on a transaction in my Quicken personal finance software program. Believe me … nothing is wasted in God. Even the seemingly trivial.
Take a moment to appreciate the providence of God in your life … and as you do, place your trust afresh in him … whatever you may be going through.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6. NLT