Providence can be perplexing. It’s intricate and involved. Like an algebra problem that stretches across the blackboard, providence seems to be the one equation man cannot solve. But that doesn’t keep us from trying. We evaluate every angle, study every line, diagram every dimension, we pull and prod, trying to get the faucet of divinity lined up with the logic of man. Yet, no matter how we try, providence lies beyond the bounds of our minds. And because of that, our eyes usually don’t see it working, that all these circumstances we can’t explain or understand are on a collision course, that turn out for good. Each one is like a piece-but a piece of what? A piece of providence perhaps? The totality of these things expend any figure we could imagine; goodness.
Our lives are not a game of chance. As if some mystic force is playing dice with our lives. No,fate is not the maker of our destinies-the Almighty is.
Yet, it is His hand that often leaves us perplexed. The way is so unclear. The decisions in front of us too monstrous. We weren’t planning on any of this; the rejection, the divorce, the promotion, the break-up, the success. Once upon a time our dreams seemed so clear-the path was marked-but now there’s an unexpected detour. Destiny is a lifetime of a million different detours. It’s in these detours where faith and perseverance are tested. It’s easy to follow the hand of God when He’s guiding where we want to go-but it’s when we are pulled by the force of providence down an alley we weren’t expecting, that we get perplexed. It’s the times when His hand is covering our eyes that we must walk by faith.
Providence brings purpose, it ushers the will of God into our lives. In the word of God when we see the reference to God’s “hand” it is a direct reference to His providence.
Many Christians are scared of the will of God because they misinterpret the hand of God. We see the hand of judgement instead of the nail pierced hand of grace. We see a hand that takes instead of a hand that gives all heaven has to offer. We see a hand that strips and suppresses instead of one that crowns and frees. This misinterpretation has stolen the intended purpose from providence.
In the Psalms alone the hand of God is said to:
Upholds (37:25, 63:8)
Yet, it’s not the times that we see His hand that often perplexes us. It’s the times we don’t. When callings are complicated and family is frustrating. When our careers are chaotic and our relationships are risky, when loss languishes and defeat deflates. When should’ve been and might’ve been replay in your mind, when we believed but the mountain remained, when we needed the waters to part but they roared louder. These are the moments when providence can be painful.
Providence doesn’t always move mountains or part the waters. Sometimes, what providence does do is ask us to climb that mountain and see Christ transfigured. And other times He allows the waters to roar and then calls us to walk on them. Providence doesn’t remove the problem, it removes the threat from the problem. Providence always brings protection.
“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me…”( Psalm 138:8)Yet, we try to help Him out. We find ourselves striving after providence when it is in fact providence that is chasing us. We try to figure out Gods plan. We beg and plead for insight and direction when providence says “do the next thing…” but we don’t, that’s not good enough for us. We need to do more….and more…and more. We aren’t content with the moment so we jump ahead, feeling like a mountain of accomplishments will somehow get us to our purpose and so we out run providence. As a result we end up burned out in despair. Because without providence we have no hope. It is the gracious care of a loving God that motivates us and spurs us on. It is the assurance in the protection of His hand that we have joy in suffering. It is the fact that our hope is not tethered to our situations but to the throne that keeps us from despair.
Our view may not be clear but our hope is.
“We may be perplexed but we are not in despair.” 2 Corinthians 4:8