In the past, the phrase Divine Providence, was a common phrase used to refer to God’s overriding prerogative to advance His Kingdom and protect His people even when they were unaware of His guiding hand. In a culture that emphasizes the personal relationship of each individual believer with God most heavily, and that calls for personal seeking of God’s guiding will; this concept of Divine Providence, a grace we cannot see or ask for in our lives, is somewhat lost.
My upcoming 5th wedding anniversary has caused me to meditate heavily on this topic recently. I have been blessed to be married to a wonderful woman, who lives out Proverbs 31 every day. She cares for our family and shows me perfect respect, while not allowing me to move forward in areas of weakness or error. To be honest I couldn’t have picked a better wife, and it truly was the hand of God that brought us together. None of it would have been possible, however, if it wasn’t for one small action.
I met my wife working my first “real” job in high school. Now let me just be honest here, when it was time to decide where to go to college I spent weeks praying with my parents and researching where I would get the best education. When it was time to take that first job, I simply took the first decent job that I could get. There was very little thought, and not too much prayer either; it was simply a decision that had to be made and I made it.
This is the blessing of following Christ. I was pursuing His will for my life with an open heart and mind. I wasn’t looking for a wife, I wasn’t really looking for anything but some money and job experience as I got ready to go to college. Other than a few very important relationships (let me include a special shout out here to my 3rd set of parents, we love you all!), college didn’t really do much for me. That first job however impacted who I married, and as a consequence my 2 precious children. Not only that, it proved instrumental in providing for me all through college and the early years of my marriage and helped me land each new job I’ve had since. What I considered a small thing, turned out to be one of the most important decisions I ever made. Yet there was Christ, watching out for my needs and interests even in something I thought was small. The decision was guided and secured by the strong, sure hand of my Father in Heaven whether I thought it was important or not.
Looking at a more recent example, I have been moving forward much faster in my agricultural education through the online Permaculture Designers Certificate Course I mentioned recently. The funny thing is, I wasn’t looking for educational opportunities. I knew my family needed to do something, but we were having a very hard time finding anything compatible with having small children and a busy work schedule. So we were simply being faithful to try to develop skills at home through gardening and raising chickens in the backyard. I found the class, not through some great search engine or my own ingenuity, but simply because I decided I should finally set up a twitter account to support this blog (follow @thetonedeafbard). In order to keep up to date I followed several Permaculture news type sites, and one of them posted an interesting video by Geoff Lawton about how to develop abundance on just 5 acres. I watched several more videos and he announced the course, and my wife and I chose to enroll. Think for just a minute with me, had the timing of my impulsive decision to get on twitter been off just by a few days, I might have missed a big opportunity, yet I didn’t because there in the background of my life was grace.
Think over your life the last few years, have you had any random events of grace in your life? Be sure to praise God for taking care of you even when you didn’t look for it.
We, as a western culture particularly, get so caught up looking for direct answers to prayers and guidance for situations we have chosen to pray about, that we easily miss these small movements of God in the background. The fact is, life is busy and we don’t always think about the possible implications of our actions. What a joy it is to know that in the fullness of His Divine Sovereignty, God is in the backdrop of our lives, working for our good even when we don’t see it. His purposes will not be frustrated or stopped, all we have to do is submit our lives to His will and the rest begins to fall together.