The Mystery of Providence

“A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 CSB

“Trust in God’s providence, interfering as it always does, for our own good.” – Saint Mary Mackillop

“Providence is the great clock, keeping time and order not only hourly, but instantly to God’s own honor.” – Stephen Charnock

“God is not external to anyone, but is present with all things, though they are ignorant that He is so.” – Plotinus

In my mind, there are two spiritual truths that change everything.  When we embrace them – we are capable of transcending any hardship, circumstance or difficult situation we face.  The quality of our lives increase in the areas of peace, contentment, and our ability to endure.

The first truth (one I talk about a lot) is the sovereignty of God – His ultimate control over all things.  Nothing that happens to us is ever outside of that control.   Nothing ever takes Him by surprise, sets Him back, or causes Him to hesitate.  The Bible says, “For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things.” (Romans 11:36)

We can rest with confidence that God’s sovereignty rules over the universe, this world, and even within our daily circumstances.  Nothing is outside of His reach or jurisdiction.

The second truth is one that isn’t talked about much.  To say the least, it’s often forgotten and discounted by many of us.  God is providential – always at work providing, directing, and guiding….ALWAYS!  His providence isn’t triggered by our prayers, by our allowance to its unfolding, or by our acceptance or approval to its presence.  God is WORKING in each of our lives every minute of the day – often behind the scenes.  He is directing us toward the fulfillment of His will for us and to accomplish our destiny here.  He is actively leading us toward a life that is filled with goodness and grace.  Not for a chosen few, but for EVERYONE OF US!

Would the Creator, would a loving God simply leave us to our own devices without help, guidance, and support?

And what about our free will, our own choices, and the control we have over the direction of our own lives?  How does a sovereign, providential God work within those realities?

That my friend is the mystery 🙂 – a mystery that is interwoven with our free will and choices and His providential care and guidance.  It is easily forgotten because often it works behind the scenes, over a period of time, and involves the intermingling of the lives and the paths of others.

We can make a definitive choice, yet at the same time, God can twist it toward His ultimate will – not only for our good, but for others involved as well. 

Just ask the brothers of Joseph, whose evil intentions eventually led to a nation being saved from famine.  Ask Jonah who marched off the opposite direction of where God needed him, but eventually found himself back where God intended him to be.  Ask the parents of Sampson, who couldn’t believe their son was marrying a woman outside of their culture, but the Bible says, “They didn’t know this was from the Lord who was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines.”  We see it in the story of Esther, who ended up becoming queen “for such a time as this” – saving a nation from genocide.

We so often forget about this providence in our own lives.  When we can’t control our teenager – remember that God is in TOTAL control and His providence is working within all the bad choices and circumstances – eventually working everything together for good.  Trust His providence, that mysterious, under-the-radar guidance that is continually at work!

When the marriage seems unresolvable, when the sickness is beyond remedy, and when the way forward looks dark and unclear – remember that providence is ALWAYS playing a role. And like the examples I gave earlier, remember that it is often working behind the scenes and out of view.

I love that about God!  He loves us so much that He allows us to make our own choices, yet is gently steering them a positive direction.  When we have it wrong, He has the power to make it right again 🙂

It is who God is, a part of His nature – to care, support and guide us. Not some of the time, but ALL OF THE TIME!  And the best part is that we don’t earn, deserve, ask, or acquire it.  Providence is working regardless of our attitudes, behaviors, or beliefs – in fact, I would venture to say its power is greatest when we need it most!  That is how much God loves you my friend!

You may not realize this, but providence is happening to you right now, exactly where you are, blessed or in need.  Whatever is taking place, it is within the control and providence of a God who is working in your behalf – even if you cannot feel or see it in the moment.   When things look bad or feel out of control, remember that God’s providence has you EXACTLY where you need to be in the moment – playing out to your advantage and the advantage of others you love!  Just trust Him 🙂

Tonight, meditate on the ultimate sovereignty of a loving God – in total control of all His creation.  Spend time, time often forgotten, dwelling on His providential care.  Take comfort He is working in your life RIGHT NOW – especially if things are difficult and unclear.  That guidance, direction, and support are ALWAYS present – even if they are working behind the scenes, are hidden from your view or happening over an extended period of time.  That is a part of the mystery my friend 🙂

God knows where you are and He is taking you to a place where your destiny awaits – a place where everything works together for good 🙂

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