God’s Providence

God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. His continual care is exercised over the entire universe and nothing is too big or small for him to do. Uniformity comes from God and we as his creatures don’t or won’t ever exercise absolute autonomy over what we do. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 – 1556), a Spanish hermit, priest, and theologian, observed: “Above all, remember that God looks for solid virtues in us, such as patience, humility, obedience, abnegation of your own will – that is, the good will to serve Him and our neighbor in Him. His providence allows us other devotions only insofar as He sees that they are useful to us.” Mt 6:26 explains that God feeds the birds of the air and how much more will he not be concerned with us – the pride of his creation.

God has an infallible foreknowledge. Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662), a French mathematician, physicist, and Christian philosopher was assured, “He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” This trust doesn’t relieve men and women of their god-given responsibilities in making choices.

Often we may even fail in a task that we undertake. We work hard in exploring that career which we prayed about but we still fail in finding that it’s good for us. Where’s God in all this? Robert E. Lee (1807 – 1870), an American soldier known for commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War, said, “We failed but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a blessing.” People may not see this blessing clearly when it’s happening, but in hindsight we realize God is pointing us toward another career. This choice will best suit our special gift. Often we have to wait on God’s timing.

God’s providence is unlimited and we may be unable to fathom its true depth. Like Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), one of France’s great poets, novelist, and dramatist, stated, “Blessed be Providence which has given to each his toy: the doll to the child, the child to the woman, the woman to the man, the man to the devil.” God shows us all special love and care. At the time we may not even understand it. We are blown away by his goodness, but like Job he might even allow evil to come our way. But for believers all things work for the good for those who love God (Rom 8:28).

During the rise and fall of nations God is always on the scene. This has happened in the biblical past and throughout history. Americans only have to reflect on the founding of their nation. John Adams (1735 – 1826), an American founding father serving as the second president of the United States, remarked, “I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.” What Adams observed is each day becoming more apparent. His statement was prophetic.

Citizens of the world are able to see the fulfillment of God’s purpose in his creation. Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948), a preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India, reasoned, “Providence has its appointed hour for everything. We cannot command results, we can only strive.” In the Western Hemisphere people are blessed with four seasons of the year. Every year seasons come and go – be it summer, spring, autumn, or winter. We do witness nations rise and fall. Yet, it is required that we work diligently to earn our daily bread and live righteously in the sight of God (Gen 8:22).

God is the supreme ruler of the universe and we must know our place in it. Do so, by discovering our gift, walking in his light, and adoring him. William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833), an English politician, and philanthropist reminded us: “My walk is a public one. My business is in the world, and I must mix in the assemblies of men or quit the post which Providence seems to have assigned me.” Life isn’t just happiness. It’s one of service to other men and women. Wilberforce embraced his calling and as a result of his tireless work the slave trade was abolished. God nevertheless is present in every aspect of our lives for we are his creatures he loves best of all. His providence is a great gift to us.

Otto von Bismarck (1815 – 1898), a conservative Prussian statesman wrote, “There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.” Where there’s evil God is always blameless. Scripture is clear about this, although some of our actions are predestined by God (Acts 2:23). God in his providence may even bring evil as judgment against rulers, disobedient persons, and recalcitrant people. Daniel 4:35 makes clear God always does his will. Still, parts of God’s providence will always remain a mystery because our minds are finite, while God’s is infinite.

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