This Father’s Day, as I reflect on my life, I’m once again reminded of the goodness and providence of God. I’m where I am now today solely by the grace and mercies of the Good Father.
Sometimes, we find ourselves lost and burdened, not knowing how to pray. We may even think that God is not answering our prayers. Yet, He’s always working behind the scenes.
The word ‘providence’ comes from ‘provide’, which implies that everything that happens is an act of God’s provision. This doctrine is unique, and it’s tied up in this word – everything.
God’s plan includes the little things. The vastness of His involvement in the universe extends to the tiniest of concerns. I like to compare the doctrine of providence to miracles.
A miracle is when God suspends natural law to do something outside and against the grain of natural law. A miracle is walking on water or raising the dead – as Jesus did in the Gospels. It suspends natural law, supernaturally invades time and space, and acts in a divine way that transcends human explanation.
Providence, though different, is an amazing miracle in itself. It is God accomplishing His own purposes – not by superseding – but by taking all the elements of natural law and blending them together in a masterful way so that His purposes are accomplished, all these while not interrupting the natural course of things.
Someone once said, “All things come not by chance, but by His Fatherly hand.” Nothing is left out of His plan. Nothing happens by chance. And this is possible because He’s not just all powerful, but also a Good Father. Nothing is outside our Heavenly Father’s control, and we can trust His hand even when we cannot see His face.
One of the most amazing yet simple Biblical examples of providence and prayer revolves around a man searching for a wife. Abraham’s servant had travelled far, far away to Mesopotamia to find a wife for 49-year-old Isaac (Genesis 24). It was a huge and massively important mission.
When he arrived, the servant began to pray a very specific prayer. He had several prerequisites in his search for a wife for his master. Basically, it was this – May the girl who offers (1) me a drink and (2) to water my camels – may she be the chosen one.
Here’s the cool part. We’re told that, even ‘before he had finished speaking’, Rebekah showed up (Genesis 24:15). Before he even said “Amen”, it was like God saying, “Yup, ok, but listen: I planned this ages ago. Just watch and see!” Then He answered the unfinished prayer.
This story is a remarkable example of our Father’s providence and guidance in our lives. Not only does He answer our prayers before we finish them, He gives us things we had no idea we needed; or that we neglected to pray for. Often, our Father even answers our unfinished or un-prayed prayers!
Must we pray? Of course! We must always enter into His Presence and commune. There’s the Sovereignty of God, yet also the responsibility of man.
The Prophet Isaiah tells us of this remarkable aspect of our Father in Isaiah 65:24, ‘Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.’
The Father loves us more than we can ever comprehend. He showers us with grace, and we can find refuge and hope in Him, daily receiving His loving help in unexpected ways, through unexpected people, and perhaps even through unexpected detours.
May we open our eyes to see Him working in every circumstance. Trust His hand, even when you don’t see His Face.