By Nabeel Zaydan
As we live our days, sometimes we’re going along and suddenly we’re knocked down by some unexpected circumstance. Everything is out of focus and we begin gasping for our spiritual breath. Nothing seems to matter then except our circumstances. It may be a tragedy, a physical illness, a loss of job, children in trouble, financial problems, or one of a hundred things. At such a time as this, the most important thing is to know how to survive it and regain our spiritual breath. The only sure footing we have is the Word of God and absolute confidence in the Providential Sovereignty of God.
I. What is meant by Divine Providence?
Providence sums up the basic biblical teachings about God’s relationship to His World. It indicates God’s care for and supervision of all things, from the moment of creation on into eternity. “Pro” means “before””””Video” means “to see”””Providence means “to see before.” This means that God sees before and plans accordingly.
Christians are convinced that God is in control of all things. (That is why we pray.) This doesn’t mean that we are puppets on “God’s string”. We make decisions and are responsible for those decisions. “Cause and effect” operates in the universe.
Do I understand election, foreknowledge, predestination, free will, or the “golden chain” of Romans 8:28-29? No! But this I do know. With my limited human intelligence, perhaps God doesn’t expect me to. He just wants me to seek his will and follow him. You see the aim and goal of the Christian life isn’t “what we do for God.” It is being conformed to the image of Christ.
This means that we can never be victims of chance and that we have no need to fear the future.
II. What does Romans 8:28 Mean?
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Paul is not saying that whatever happens to a Christian is good“”many bad things may happen. Neither does Paul mean that God works out all things for our comfort, our convenience, our health, or our wealth.
If one looks back in the same chapter and verse 18 he can read, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Then, take a look forward to verses 35-39: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” … As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long … in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that … NOTHING shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:17-18); Joseph (Genesis 50:20) and Paul (Philippians 1:12-14, 21).
Christian Challenge: “Take a sheet of paper … List all the things in life that you feel you got as a hard and unfair deal (e.g. Broken Home, Poverty, Handicap, etc.) Then write beside each one: “God meant it for good.”
Nabeel Zaydan is pastor of Faith Baptist Church Arabic in Croydon Park, Australia. Article used by permission.