Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recognising Providence

In coming to grips with the realisation that God controls the bad stuff in my life as well as the good, a friend made the comment that far too many people fall into the trap of placing God’s love one category and then placing the suffering and discontent in their lives into a separate category. This idea is disabused by the simple example of God willing the suffering and crucifixion of His beloved Son.

It is so often assumed that God is responsible for the good things, and that Satan is responsible for all the bad things. But this type of thinking seems to me to be deeply flawed because it relies on the persons own definition of what is good and what is bad. In this logic, it is assumed that humans are capable of correctly determining whether something is or isn't God’s will.

But this surely has to be a false assumption. How can we puny humans fully know what is good and what is bad, and surely it is a little arrogant to suggest that we have the ability to read God’s mind like that.

I can think of numerous examples from within my own life where what I thought was the right course of action ended up being wrong, and the ostensibly wrong direction that God took me was actually the right course.

For example, I might think that it is a good thing for me to get all the green traffic lights on the way to my destination, but actually getting all red lights may save me from being in the truck accident that occurred further down the road.

Getting sick might seem like a bad thing, until you hear the news that on the day that you had off work, the Fukushima nuclear power plant where you work has blown up in a nuclear meltdown.

How many stories like these have we either heard of, or have personally experienced?

While the good outcomes in these examples may seem obvious, it is only in hindsight that you notice that the outcomes are in fact good and not bad as it first seemed. But just think about the amount of bad things that occur in your life in which you simply fail to notice the good that actually comes in the end.

 God is looking out for us and He “works out everything for his own ends.” Prov 16:4

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