• Chris Steele

God’s Providence in Our Lives

Be Strong, Be Well — Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Providence is something of a mystery to us because God doesn't specifically define providence in scripture. We can't find the word "providence" in the Bible. However, can see providence throughout the history of God's people and world affairs.

Some have described providence as God's working behind the scenes. We cannot see the specifics and connect all the dots, but we see the results of His powerful hand. The Bible is clear on what we cannot know concerning God and His presence in the affairs of this world.

God will use providence in a general sense and a specific or particular way. Generally speaking, God provides blessings and care for everyone. "...He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45).

When His children are involved, God goes a step further in His special providence. A classic example is the life of Joseph and his brothers. When Joseph first identified who he was, he explained to his brothers how God had preserved his life, so he could preserve them during the famine (Genesis 45:4–8).

After their father died, his siblings feared he would retaliate against them. But "Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive" (Genesis 50:19–20).

God's divine power cannot be seen through His works of providence, as they were back when he demonstrated that power by miracles. This is why providence is such a mystery (Deuteronomy 29:29; Romans 11:33). However, we don't need to see it to appreciate it. Whatever God does behind the scenes is for our good.

Through this process, bad things may happen (consider Jesus death and those of the apostles and early Christians), but rest assured: "...we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28; be sure to read the context in verses 29-39).

We can affect the course of providence. Elijah changed the course of things through prayer (James 5:17, 18). Remember, only faithful Christians can expect to be heard in heaven (1 John 5:14ff; Matthew 7:11).

God’s providence works through people, good or bad (cf. Pharaoh, Judas, and Esther). He didn't make them do what they did. They were free to make their choices. But in His foreknowledge of character and dispositions used tendencies and circumstances to bring about His goodwill.

If God has worked this way since the beginning of time, shouldn't we trust His judgment and providence in our lives today? With all the turmoil and uncertainties in our country these days, shouldn't we put more trust in His capable hands? In this very context (Psalm 46:10), He says, "Be still, and know that I am God." Read it! — Chris

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