WHOEVER READS THE WRITINGS OF Christians from earlier centuries is struck with the frequent references to God’s providence. Why don’t we hear more about it today? What imp sneaked in and stole this good word from our twenty-first century vocabulary? The spirit of naturalism that views all events in nature as ruled by independent natural forces has left its mark on our generation. Too bad. We would do well to reintroduce this grand word to our tongues as well as to our young.
While Paul was addressing those sophisticated eggheads on Mars Hill, he spoke of providence when he stated “in him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28). Our God not only struck the spark that gave you and me life, He continues to prompt each heartbeat in every chest every second of every minute. And what He does for us as individuals He does for the vast universe about us. Furthermore, what God creates, God sustains. Not only does He number the hairs on our heads, He determines the days of our lives. In doing so, He weaves everything together into His design. Ultimately, the tapestry of His handiwork will be something to behold!
Let me urge you to remove three words from your vocabulary as you add providence. They are chance, fate, and luck. Those shallow terms suggest that there are blind, impersonal, and spontaneous forces at work in the ranks of humanity. Not! Only One is at work, as the apostle has written:
Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
So, take heart. God is in full control. Nothing is happening on earth that brings a surprise to heaven. Nothing touches us that has not first passed through the fingers of His hands. Nothing is outside the scope of His divine radar screen, as He guides us safely home.