The answer to the second question of the New City Catechism, which we’ve been studying here at Parkside Church, confirms that “Nothing happens except through Him and by His will.”
The Bible makes it clear that God oversees all affairs, large and small, for His glory and for His purpose. As Christians, we rest in knowing that we are not at the mercy of blind forces or drifting aimlessly on the sea of chance. We have a loving Father who delights to give good gifts to His children. The Puritans referred to God’s providence as a soft pillow for anxious heads. Some of us experience this truth in the face of daunting circumstances but can find peace in the knowledge that God provides us with what we need and responds to our prayers when we call on Him. The timing may not always coincide with our expectations, but when we look back over our shoulder we can often see how the events in our lives have aligned for our good and for God’s purpose.
The life of Joseph in Genesis serves as a wonderful example of this principle. His life was tragic in many ways – left by his brothers in a pit, sold into slavery, and imprisoned in a foreign country, Joseph remained faithful and accepting of the sovereign will of God. How the animosity of man plays into God’s purpose is a mystery. The actions of Joseph’s brothers, who acted out of hatred and jealousy, ultimately led to the fulfillment of God’s plan for Joseph’s life.
God’s providence, however, does not relieve us of personal responsibility for all that we are and all that we do. Sensible decision-making and righteous planning are our obligation – continuously undergirded by prayer.
Our series this month is titled My Times are in Your Hands and our featured resource is the book All Things For Good by Puritan writer Thomas Watson. Both dive deep into the topic of God’s loving care, even during the hardest of times. I recommend them both as a source of comfort and understanding.
As we anticipate the close of the year, we see clearly the providence of God over the ministry of Truth For Life. We remind ourselves of the biblical truth: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). We find evidence of this when we look at the growth of the ministry and ever-widening reach of the teaching. If fact, we are consistently seeing one million or more downloads from the website every month. And this year, listeners accessed our website from nearly every country in the world! The program is heard on more and more mobile devices every day, now nearly 200,000, and is broadcast over 52,000 times each month on the radio.
God’s hand steers all we do. Under His guidance however, it takes an extraordinary effort on the part of a dedicated team to bring these resources to you. In the coming weeks, you will receive an important year-end communication from us and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through the material. Truth For Life is fully listener-funded and without your committed partnership in the Gospel, we would not be able to do what we do!
My opening remarks from Esther are from our recent series of expositions here at Parkside. The integration of divine providence and human responsibility in the ordering of our lives resonates in my heart as I celebrate 30 years at Parkside Church.
Thank you for your passion to see unbelieving people become committed followers of Jesus Christ.
Love in the Lord Jesus,