Providence

Christians use the word providence to describe the way God directs this world forward in both big and little issues. I do not believe in luck, and I don’t think any Christian should. But on the other side of the coin I do not believe it would be appropriate to scold a Christian who uses the word for their lack of faith. The word is so common in today’s society, we would be better off finding some ground for peaceful coexistence instead of harsh exclusionism.

What does it look like to not believe in luck? Well let me use a mathematical-computer model to help you understand how the world works.  I suppose the easiest place to start is to ask do you believe in random numbers? On any computer you have a random number generator. These numbers however are not truly random.  They are drawn off a list inside the computer which was created by humans to imitate the concept of randomness. The computer simply pulls the next number off the list when it needs a random number.

In this way the numbers are not truly random, but instead have a way of human created pattern that guides them. It is true the pattern is so complex as to be undiscernible to any end user. But this doesn’t change the fact there is a human pattern behind the computer’s random numbers. This complexity is so far beyond human comprehension, it might as well be random or luck from our perspective. But this still doesn’t change the fact there is a human created pattern at work.

Now suppose what would happen if the person generating the numbers could look forward in history and see all the decisions every user was going to make in relationship to those random numbers. This is what God does. He shapes His world not by making decisions for us, but by knowing in advance what decisions we will make. Then working around those decisions with things we might perceive as random. If He wants a man to go shopping then He arranges the milk to go bad a little early. This might be an answer to prayer for the man to find a wife. Or maybe protection, keeping the man out of an automobile accident which would have happened if his shopping was one day later.

I believe in God’s providence. I don’t believe God’s providence contradicts humanity’s free will, but instead that God is big enough to work without removing our will. I also believe that God’s will is always active, therefore nothing is random nor is anything too small for God to care about. I don’t believe God ever makes bad choices from His eternal perspective, but this also requires that I allow God to be God. He is the highest of bosses and allowed to make decisions about life, death and suffering. All three of these items can help us in the bigger picture of eternity and we simply need to trust God in that regard.

 

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2 thoughts on “Providence

  1. Good morning Pastor Chip,

    How are you and Stephanie doing?

    Thank you so much for this wonderful message! Each time when I read your Post, we get greatly blessed!

    Please take care and may GOD richly bless you both!!!

    In His love, peggy

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