11.27.2007

Providence

"God can either be all-powerful or all-loving, but not both; otherwise
all this bad stuff wouldn't have happened." How many times have we
heard or even said that statement? The logic goes that bad stuff is
either beyond God's control or outside of His concern.

The true believer rejects that logic and banks on a God who is
simultaneously all-powerful and all-loving, for whom nothing falls
outside His jurisdiction or His compassion. We may experience great
suffering on this side of glory, and lack any evidence of the hand of
an all-powerful and all-loving God; but are we then any different than
my three-year-old daughter, who wonders loudly why I would respond to
a cut that hurts with ointment that hurts even more? And isn't our
knowledge gap versus God even larger than my daughter's versus me,
such that it is possible that God who knows more than us might mean
for a greater good to emerge from something that can't possibly make
sense in our relatively infantile heads?

Every other week, we meet with a small group of young couples from our
church. We are studying a book about trusting God in painful times,
and the chapter we discussed this week reintroduced me to a word that
deliciously combines God's all-powerfulness and His all-lovingness:
providence. The true believer understands providence to be anything
but capricious and whimsical, but rather the steady and purposeful
hand of an all-powerful and all-loving God, working all things towards
a great end. Though temporary pain on this side of glory may have me
howling like my daughter responding to a stinging ointment, I am
learning to trust in that providence, borne of a God far greater than
me, who I can increasingly count on to do good with all He has.

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