To set up my thoughts for today’s post, I ask you to watch and listen to Steve Green sing the timeless hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God…
The last stanza contains these words… “Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever!” What awesome words of hope and encouragement.
Yet they fly in the face of most modern American Evangelicals since their functional god is found in this world. I write that because when hardship or trial enters their life they doubt God… lose their joy… and their faith is shaken to it’s core and often lost.
Is all hades breaking loose in our world? Economic recession… random multiple acts of violence… saber rattling in Asia and Middle East… U.S. government assaulting morality (Pro-abortion policies, Stem Cell research, Civil Unions) are all issues coming together to seemingly form the perfect storm in our world today. What will happen next? We don’t know…
Some take the view of Que Sera Sera… what will be will be. They say whatever is going to happen will happen and there’s not one thing that can be done about it. So we might as well just man up and quit whining.
Others suggest that events are random and the best we can hope for is that God will tweak them in some manner to take care of us.
I suggest another perspective. One that contrasts fate and providence because they are not the same thing. People who believe in fate are stoic and not very optimistic. Conversely, those who believe in providence… particularly God’s providence… are joyful, optimistic, positive, and full of hope in all situations regardless of what they are.
Here is how providence is different from fate. Providence holds tightly to the knowledge that events are not chance random events, but rather the acts of a loving God who is working first to glorify His name and secondly for the good of His people!
In other words, there is purpose… a Divine purpose… to life’s events. They have meaning! Not just the big, huge, and momentous ones… but all of them down to what we consider insignificant. They are ALL designed to glorify God and are for our good! Consider,
2 Cor 1:8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us (See verse 9b) through the prayers of many.
Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
God’s providence is about glorifying Himself. The events of life, whatever they may be, are designed for His people to rely upon Him totally, completely, and without reservation. If that means taking us to the point of death to glorify His name (2 Cor 1), then God will do it. If that means putting us in the fire and delivering us… or NOT delivering us (Dan 3)… then God will do it. Why? Because God is about glorifying His name!
Fate is hopeless. God’s providence is full of hope! Therefore I encourage you to understand life in terms of God’s providence for that is to His glory!