THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD

 Something that never ceases to amaze me is that mysterious phenomenon we call “the providence of God.” In more common vernacular, we refer to “God sightings” in our lives. We experienced another one this past week, for which we are very, very grateful. I mentioned to you in last week’s “Wisdom of the Week” that we had gone to visit at the church where I pastored and were very challenged and encouraged by the presentation of a young couple headed for the mission field in Africa. What I didn’t mention, because at the time we didn’t know the significance of it, was that we were invited to the Sampsons’ home for dinner after the service. Ray Sampson was one of the original elders at Three Lakes and his wife, LuRee, taught kindergarten for our Christian school. They are very dear friends and were always such a great encouragement to us as we ministered at Three lakes. We did most of the construction of the Three Lakes facilities on our own and Ray was always my right-hand man. Anyway, we had a great visit and time of fellowship with the Sampsons and also Ellis Stewart, another long-time member and elder at Three Lakes. (His wife, Ida, went to be with the Lord several years ago).

     This Saturday morning we got a call telling us that Ray had collapsed, was taken to our local hospital and was in ICU there. As we visited at the hospital a couple times that day it was pretty obvious that Ray was likely already “absent from the body and at home with the Lord” (II Cor 5:8).  He was on life support but that appeared to be all that was keeping his body going. Early Sunday morning LuRee called to say that Ray was in heaven. Ray had his 90th birthday last June 4 (which happened to be my dad’s birthday as well), so he had well surpassed the “seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years” of Psalm 90:10. We praise the Lord that Ray’s homegoing was quick and relatively painless.
     We also praise God that, in His providence, He had us in the Sampsons’ home for dinner last Sunday!  Neither we, nor they, had any idea what God had in store for this past weekend, but He knew exactly what He was doing and gave us the privilege of getting to spend some very quality time with a dear friend before He took him home. God’s providence, or “God sightings” as we state it, is such an amazing thing. In the scheme of world-wide events, with earthquakes, terrorist attacks on our own soil, unrest in the Middle East, North Korea making threats of nuclear attack, etc, to think that God cares about, and is still involved in the every-day events of our individual lives, sort of blows our minds (at least it does mine!). 
     Providence is one of the words which do not occur in the Bible, but which nevertheless represents a truly biblical doctrine. We find it expressed in such ways as: “He gives food to all flesh” (Psa. 136:25); “He sends forth springs in the valleys…They give drink to every beast of the field…He waters the mountains from the upper chambers…” (Psa. 104:10-13). Providence is God sustaining, providing for, His creation (“For by Him all things were created..by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:16,17). But, His providence goes much further than just caring for His physical creation, it also involves our individual lives, and His purpose for each one of us. David wrote: “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them” (Psa. 139:16). God has planned out the days of our lives. He orchestrates our “chance” encounters with others. He brings just the right people and circumstances into our lives to mold us for His purpose.  The Apostle Paul, who had been a persecutor of the early church, was chosen by God to be the missionary to the Gentiles, and penned much of our New Testament, wrote this to the believers at Ephesus: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
     The doctrine of providence tells us that the world and our lives are not ruled by chance or by fate but by a sovereign God, “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isa. 46:10,11). “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all the deeps” (Psa. 135:6).
   We are so thankful that God, in His providence, drew us to Three Lakes last Sunday and to the home of the Sampsons for dinner. God is so good!!
 
                                                                                                             Forever His,
                                                                                                                    Pastor Dave
 
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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