Brothers, Embrace the Providence of God!
by Mike Evans
For our purposes the word Providence can be defined today as God’s unceasing involvement in the everyday stuff of life whereby He causes His sovereignty to be worked out according to the counsel of His will, for the praise of His glory, and for the good of His people.
This may sound like a mouthful but I assure you that when understood and embraced, it is a mouthful of the richest of fare.
The next time one of your sons or daughters does something shocking, sinful, or shameful, I encourage you to prayerfully consider God’s plans in it.
After the initial disappointment has worn off a bit and the appropriate consequences meted out I challenge you to think bigger.
Get beyond the self-centered humiliation and you may begin to see things from an entirely different perspective.
Don’t, and you will likely continue to live in the perpetual disappointment of living vicariously through your children, with unrealistic hopes of perfection.
Sinful parents give birth to sinful children, who in turn, eventually give birth to sinful children. This is the circadian rhythm of life in a fallen world.
Most in the home-education circles speak often of the blessings of children. And they are. But how many of us think of our children as “blessings” when they bring dishonor to God or the family name?
How many of us consider it a “blessing” when we have a child who is apparently abandoning the faith of his/her parents for lesser things?
Have you ever considered the possibility that your wayward child just might be one of the most important things that has ever happened to you? It’s possible.
What if God allowed or caused your child to stray from the narrow path (even if only for a time) to bring you to your knees, since you refused to do it on your own?
After all, what is the difference between God’s causing and God’s allowing? If God allows something He could have prevented, which includes everything, then the question is simply a matter of degree.
It just makes most of us feel better about life to think of God as allowing.
But the question then becomes is God in control of all things or is He not?
Is it true or not that “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord: he turns it wherever he will?” (Proverbs 21:1).
Is it true or not that “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble?” (Proverbs 16:4).
The sovereignty of God is the bedrock of a Christian’s hope in this world. The sovereignty of God is worked out through both the good and bad things of life that come our way.
Brothers, brace yourselves like men and receive this biblical truth upon which the very character of God rests. Receive it, believe it, and teach it to your family.
You want answers. Fine. We all want answers. But whatever you let loose from your lips let there not be a word which in any way impugns the very character of God.
In other words, do not say or even allow yourselves to think such nonsense that God had nothing to do with 9/11 or the Tsunami or your own personal trial or tribulation, no matter how gut wrenching and life altering it may be.
Why is it that so many cheerfully give God the glory for the promotions in life, for the happy smiling days, but when calamity strikes all the sudden Satan becomes sovereign?
While no man can say with certainty what God’s precise role or purpose is in the greatest trials of life, let it not be said that God is not in charge.
Even evil itself is ultimately under the authority of God. If not then all we have is an uncertain future, a Star Wars epic yet to unfold. Who will win? The “forces of good” or the “forces of
We do not live in a dualistic universe, where equal but opposite powers are fighting it out.
Jesus Christ, the Almighty and Sovereign Ruler over heaven and earth reigns supreme and is micromanaging this universe in such a way as to maximize His own glory for ever and ever.
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the grand slam guarantee that Jesus has triumphed, a triumph that will be fully realized only at the end of the age.
Any evil that comes our way is ultimately ordered by a loving, all-wise, and sovereign God, not for the evil that may result, but for the good that may come of it.
This was theologian Jonathan Edwards’ solution to this problem and I think he was right on.
Have you got a better answer? Is it really and truly comforting for a person to hold to the idea that simply because we live in a fallen world bad things happen?
Do you gain strength and comfort from the idea that all the bad stuff of life comes to us with a purposeless randomness?
Any pastor or theologian who would speak such nonsense as that God has nothing to do with the bitter Providences of life in a fallen world ought to be defrocked, for they know not the first thing concerning the God who is revealed on every single page of the Bible. They ought to have their pulpits tucked away in a closet, their education certificates confiscated, and be made to sit in a corner and taught the great truths of Scripture from a 90 year old great grandma. Yes, a grandmother.
A grandmother who has no education but has been a hand maiden of the Lord for nine decades, who has read the Bible through dozens of times, has worn out her knees in prayer to God, and has been taught by the Holy Spirit through the written Word the deep truths of the faith.
I doubt this is going to happen because after 9/11 the pastor of the largest church in North America uttered just such drivel to the entire world, to his everlasting discredit. And, far from sitting in a corner the church to continues to grow like a chicken on steroids.
In Job Ch. 21, Job, who has suffered enormous loss, responds to the worthless counsel of his mostly worthless “friend” Zophar.
Zophar speaks with pious platitudes of how God causes the wicked to suffer and never once mentions the mercy of God.
In 21:34 Job responds to Zophar by saying, “How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”
No matter how bitter the pill of suffering or sorrow that you are now swallowing or will ever swallow before your life comes to an end, let it not be said that God has no part in it.
Those who would deny this truth have nothing for you but falsehood. They are empty nothings. Their counsel is worthless.
I’ve heard enough of empty nothings. And I’ve heard enough bogus theology from mall-Godders to last me a life time.
Shame on me if I would fail to lead my family and the flock of God entrusted to my (and the elders) care to the breathtaking, all- encompassing reality that God Himself causes all things … yes, all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).
Now don’t hear me wrong. I don’t want any of my (or your) children to turn away from the living God, to bring shame to God or to my family. Karla and I pray every day toward this end.
But, if it happens I hope to have the grace and the theology (a correct biblical understanding of God) in place to see beyond the self-centered interests of my own pride toward deeper and eternal interests.
I am convinced that one of the reasons God gives us children is to break us of our pride and to make us holy. Whenever we begin to think that we’ve got it all under control we need to watch out.
The best recipe for humility is having a child, plus nothing. Ideally, humility should increase in direct proportion to the number of one’s children.
More children, more humility. Some of you reading this article should be extremely humble.
Another purpose for children seems to be to keep us dependent upon God for all things. Just as God’s children are not their own, but rather “have been bought with a price” (I Cor. 6:19-20), so also our own children are not really our own.
We do not have ultimate control over them and we cannot be certain that they will follow in the footsteps of Jesus…regardless of how sincere their faith may seem at an early age.
God is sovereign over the salvation of men, women, and children, not man. If this reality does not keep us humble and depending on God then nothing will.
The biblical doctrine of God’s Providence is on every page of Scripture and pulsates through every moment of our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not.
God, who never slumbers nor sleeps, is constantly working out His sovereign and loving purposes through the smiling and frowning Providences of our daily lives.
I hope these words have made you think more deeply about God. I hope these words have given you pause to consider the vastness and comprehensive nature of God’s sovereignty and Providence.
If your life is going well and you are at this very moment relatively free of severe trial and affliction, then let these words soak deeply into your mind and soul as a down-payment for future trials.
If you are at this moment swallowing a bitter pill these words may come to you as an even bitterer chaser. I apologize. When wounds are still fresh they are prone to much discomfort, even infection.
Be assured that God is always near to the broken-hearted. Cling to the promise of Psalm 34:18 that “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
This doesn’t mean the counsel is not sound, but the only spoonful of sugar that helps this medicine go down is this: it’s true.
It is a fact that God is in control. God is in control. God is in control. God is in control.
May each of us find strength and hope in the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, where Paul writes from the midst of affliction “…this slight and momentary affliction is (even now) preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient (passing away), but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
And so, I will continue to seek with you, to keep my eyes on the unseen things of eternity and not be beguiled by the transient nature of the seen.
And may the sweet sovereignty of God worked out every moment by the Providence of God provide you great strength and hope now and always.