Is Providence Archaic?

GodReflection: Power Words

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. – Job 10:12

garyguarujaIt’s good to feel my fingers back on the keyboard and my thought process stirring again after a short blogging sabbatical. I needed the days to take care of a family medical issue and to get through the holiday season.

In an effort to change my mental scenery away from “blog thinking,” I decided to read Daniel Defoe’s 1719 fictional autobiography Robinson Crusoe.

To my surprise I’d been led astray my entire life.providence1

I had thought the book was about Robinson Crusoe’s island survival and his encounter of the savage he named Friday.

Nope. He left the island at the halfway point of the story and Friday met his demise soon after.

My unexpected encounter was with the providence of God. Page upon page Defoe overtly wove in his theme of providential care of the Creator. It is a story of a man transformed from disbelief to belief as he discovers and contemplates God’s providence.

providence7Years passed after he salvaged the remains of the shipwreck. He remembered the three books.

As he pondered the coincidences of good fortune that orchestrated survival—he read for the first time from one of the three recovered Bibles previously owned by members of the captain’s crew.

As he read, he met the loving God who cares.

The word providence no longer carries its punch packed meaning in 21st century vocabulary. The average person uses words like fate, chance, luck, and destiny.

Those who know God gravitate toward words and concepts like care, watchful, protection, and divine guidance.

providence11When I let Scripture define divine providence, from the Psalms I learn he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. (23:3) and He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. (25:9)

From Jesus I read, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.

Apostle Paul teaches, don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Here is what I think:

Although the word may be archaic, providence is a powerful reality that colors my walk. It is to know God’s presence.

providence3It is to follow with confidence my life’s trail as it twists and curves through the brushy jungle known as the world. I follow knowing that God swings His machete ahead of me to clear my path.

God is the Celestial Surveyor. My task is to move my heart in His direction.

I encounter snakes and thorns. I bruise my feet on protruding rocks. I press on assured of the destination.  He has the eyes of His heart turned toward me as I proceed along the path.

Wrapped with mystery, providence—like the Godhead—is beyond the limits of my human brain to explain.

By its very nature, it functions behind a veil. I can’t see it nor can I explain it. The stories of Joseph sold into Egyptian slavery to save Israel and of Moses saved from the River Nile to lead Israel from Egypt are great illustrations. Only God knew the storyline.

God works in the background of life.

providence9I see evidence of God’s providence in my past. I trust in the hand of God to cover my life with divine providence through His Grace.

And, I trust Him with the future.

Even in times of doubt and fear, I want to be able to preface those doubts as Job when he declared to God; You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.

As we begin 2015, I would love to hear your insights into this mysterious power word.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on Providence as a Power Word.




6 thoughts on “Is Providence Archaic?

  1. Thanks, dear Gary, for these thoughts. I also had the same idea as you about the story of this book. Thanks for your insightful and challenging sharing. How can we live without depending upon God’s love and care and guidance for our lives? (I’m glad you’re “back”!)


  2. Gary, God’s Providence and grand weaving in our lives has been a strong theme for me as well lately. And I was just talking to a friend whose family is facing sudden job and location changes who said this: “We watched how God took us through the last time something similar happened, and I know I can trust what God is going to do this time also.” I find so much comfort in reflecting on how I see His Providential hand in my life and the lives of others to trust what’s going to happen in the future. Thank you for another reminder of this.


    • Melissa,
      Thank you for your comment. I suspect in the next reality we will be blown away should God decide to reveal the full extent of His providential care for us while we walked the earth. Have a super day.


  3. Great thoughts on God’s ever-present caring, guiding and providing! (providence). Good to have you ‘back in the saddle’ ol’ friend…


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