“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b, NIV 2011).
Marvin asked us to hold hands and pray. His wife had a gleam of wonder in her eyes. I had just announced the results that documented her five-year freedom from her cancer. Her battle had been long and hard with many physical, relational and economic struggles that would change their lives forever.
Marvin prayed, “Oh God, how we thank you for curing Lany’s cancer. We know this has all been part of your great plan. You wrote every page.”
Does God write every page of our lives or does He profoundly edit the pages of a fallen world? To be honest, I really don’t know. Scripture points both ways. Great Christian thinkers have differing opinions and I am not a great thinker.
On the backdrop of a fallen world, what causes the events in our lives and what does God do about them? What is this thing called providence?
God’s providence is certainly a net. When I trip and fall in this life, God often catches me and protects me from harm, but not always.
His providence is certainly a hand of power. When I need to accomplish or overcome, God’s hand of power may drive me forward or break down walls before me; but sometimes He chooses to hold back His hand and I fail.
His providence clearly guards me when I am tempted to walk outside His will. He holds me back and protects me from those temptations, but sometimes He lets my will prevail and I sin.
His providence is a light that lights a path I could not otherwise see. Sometimes I choose to follow it.
His providence is like a river, moving history forward toward the redemption of the world, the New Jerusalem, His kingdom come. No Hitler or Stalin or cancer can change His direction or stop His progress.
As Oswald Chambers put it, “Everything the Devil does, God overreaches to serve his purpose.”
But, what about now, in my own life?
The older I become, the less I understand the mystery of God’s method in this world. I know not how God works things out, but more and more I know the love that does the work.
Let me see you in the events of my life. Whether you write them or edit them, I really don’t know; but I know this is your story.