Providence, by Rev. Rusty Mosley
Proverbs 16:33 "We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall." (NLT)
The traditional, Christian doctrine of "Providence" basically says that everything that happens, EVERYTHING, happens because God personally made it happen.
Now, this is both better and worse than the common thinking of our world which takes God out of the picture. The idea of Providence can be more comforting on the one hand, to know that a very loving, personal God is in total control of anything that might happen to you. To trust that bare fate and bad luck are not free to torture you, can be comforting. However, this teaching can also be, for some, harder, when God allows something really terrible to happen to us. We then have to process through the emotional journey that it takes to work through why this One who loves me would let such a terrible thing happen.
Of course, consistent with the doctrine, would be the idea that somehow a terrible experience would eventually serve to bring glory to God, in some way eventually, and even glorify us in some way.
It would involve having to have immense trust, that God would somehow get us through the horror and healing, and that one day, after the story is finished, after we have moved on to our next life of bodily resurrection on a new Earth, which God promises us is coming, we eventually will be actually MORE glad that it happened than if it hadn't happened. We will then be able to be honored that God used us to make an even more beautiful story of redemption out of our lives, than if he had allowed our lives to be easy and not as much of an amazing story of redemption.
The doctrine of Providence, however, is also an amazing doctrine in other ways. It can also help us wonderfully learn to appreciate that it means that the smallest of details in life, can come to life and be far better and more exciting if Providence really is true. It means that even the most mundane experiences of every day life are bristling with meaning because it means that every detail around you is personally being put there and is a personal token of love to you. Even more, it means that every detail in the blueprint of your life is actually serving God's greater purposes which will contribute to make your life into a beautiful story, which he and you are "writing" together.
This means that every detail of your life is exactly what we mean, when we feel like something was a real miracle. The truth is that everything in life IS a real miracle, in that God directly and personally made it happen. In the Proverbs verse above, it means that every pair of dice rolled around you, is God making that outcome personally happen, by His loving and personal power.
So, really, this means that all of life is personal. All of life is a personal, loving interaction between you and God. This is really exciting when you think about it, if you can imagine it, and if you can believe it.
The last thing, is that it also means, for those who are in Christ, that we never have to fear. Even if there are other forces and influences, all around you in this world, and indeed there are many dangerous forces. Providence means that when something seems to be threatening, that you can know that you have someone who is bigger, stronger, and closer than anything in this world, Who loves you. In the frightening story of Daniel 3:17ff, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego certainly knew this, even though they knew it could have gone otherwise. And, Psalm 121, a very beautiful Psalm, says that God even "will not let your foot slip." Therefore, if it does slip it means that He is doing it and you can trust that somehow in the end it will be okay. Yes, it's true, He could have some good purpose to let something bad happen to us, but even that, we should trust, will serve God's wonderful purposes, which lovingly include us.
This is what the Bible teaches.
Let us live every day, as a continual prayer, of us realizing that absolutely every detail in our life, is a joyful, loving miracle. Every detail is God interacting with us, today, even if VERY difficult, because of what Christ did for us, we can still trust that it is done in infinite love, and meaning, and purpose, and joy, and hope. Amen.
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Rev. Rusty Mosley