I’ve been mulling over the word providence this week. Perhaps it’s because the word has a prominent place in one of the chapters I am writing. The word makes me think of providing evidence. My iPhone defines providence as “the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power.” When I put these two ideas together, it raises an interesting question. Is there evidence of God working in my life?
Perhaps you have asked yourself the same question. It has been helpful for me to take a look back over the course of my life to see when and where God may have had a hand in certain situations. This could be evidence of some good coming out of a bad situation.
Did a past disappointment spare me from an even worse situation? Were there any blessings in my past that I brushed aside or blindly took credit for? Whatever the evidence, consider that God was involved. Let it serve as a reminder that God is continually at work in our lives and knows what our future holds.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
In the beginning I spotted you. Was it because we were in the same place at precisely the same time? There had to be more to it than that. Something about you was different. Something about you caught my attention. Was it your kind eyes, or the happiness you seemed to carry with you like a bouquet of flowers–perhaps it was.
It could have ended there; two people who shared a glance. But it didn’t. I reached out with a polite word, or two, and you responded. We engaged in conversation, nothing profound. Did time seem to lose its meaning for an instant? Did we make a connection–it seemed unlikely.
In the days that followed we encountered each another several times. Was it a coincidence, or did we run in the same social circles? It’s funny I never noticed you before–I found that interesting.
I so curious to know more about you. Something about you mattered to me. It felt rewarding knowing I mattered to you. I trusted you. I let you see the real me, not the polite pasted on version of me I used to impress others. You had a way of drawing out the essence of me. Our two separate life stories began to overlap. We were–friends.
As time went on, I felt at home being with you. Home was now–us.
Wow, it’s been several months since I last posted an update on my weight loss campaign. I am happy to report I am still at it, though life has been busy for me. I reported back in March that I achieved my first milestone (losing three pounds). Well over a month ago I passed my second milestone, losing four additional pounds making it a total of seven.
The lag in my reporting had more to do with my crazy schedule than anything else. I became embroiled in my spring chores (mowing, pruning, planting and weeding) and found less time to monitor my progress.
Here are my self-evaluation grades for the since the first milestone.
Steps on Fitbit A (I strung together 40+ days over 10,000 steps) Additional Exercise A- (6-7 days, of additional exercise per week) Portion Control B- (slipped a bit on this one) Water intake B (should drink more water) Snacking B- (still fighting this one; overall good results) Cheating C (probably why weight loss takes so long to accomplish) Devotion C+ (still room for improvement, Spring season has helped)
Morale is high. I’m looking forward to breaking through the next barrier, which is five additional pounds.
Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5 NLT
You have no doubt heard someone say light is associated with that which is good. When something hidden is exposed is said to be “brought to light.” In the same manner, darkness is said to be associated with that which is bad or concealed.
Perhaps this idea comes from the Bible, where light and darkness are compared and contrasted from its opening verses through to the closing chapter. The fourth verse of the very first book reads:
“God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:4 NIV
I unknowingly participated in an experiment the other day contrasting the difference between light and darkness. I noticed the direction I am walking matters (whether I’m walking towards the light or away from it) in a darkened room. Walking away from the light in a large room filled with obstacles, pitfalls become increasingly harder to see the further I get from the source of light. The opposite is true when I walk towards the source of light. The closer I get to the light the more defined the obstacles become and the easier they are to avoid. Perhaps the Psalmist said it best:
“Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105 NLT
When you’re exercising at night, carry a light and wear reflective clothing to light your path and keep you safe.
Job – the name means “hated or persecuted one.” The biggest problem in the book of Job has to do with theology, not Job’s pain and suffering. What is Job to do when God doesn’t act the way he expects him to act (the righteous will be rewarded and the wicked punished). The book showcases the unfathomable wisdom of God in times of human suffering. With God, there is a reason for everything he does.
Just because the spirit realm is unseen by us that doesn’t make it any less real. We the readers have visibility of the dialog between God and Satan. Job does not. This window into heaven is valuable to the story of Job and explains why things end up happening to him.
I have always wondered why Satan bothers to concern himself with humankind. You would think there would be more pressing, more significant things he could be doing rather than antagonizing people. Perhaps other passages of scriptures can shed some light on this.
Psalm 8:4-5 asks the question, “What is man that You [God] are mindful of him…For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.” The original Hebrew text uses the word Elohiym, (the name for God) instead of the word “angels.” So, man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and a little lower than God. The Apostle Paul in his discourse to the Corinthian church says, “do you not know that we will judge angels?” 1 Corinthians 6:3.
It’s starting to make sense now why Satan would concern himself with leading people away from God. At one time Lucifer, a.k.a Satan, occupied the highest position in heaven among the angels. He led worship in heaven, until he was found to be filled with pride concerning his own beauty and was cast out. Lucifer wanted to be worshipped. He wanted to be like God (see Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14). But God chose to make man, not angels, in his likeness. What could be more fulfilling for Satan than to have mankind worship him instead of God. To goad man into sinning, knowing that it separates people from God.
In chapter 1, Satan believes if he can get God to remove the hedge of protection around Job, then “the most righteous human” on earth will curse God. Satan is proven wrong and Job worships God anyway.
God is not playing a game with Satan over the life of Job. God, in his wisdom, has a reason for allowing tragedy to strike him.
Which one of us can stand in the face of what Job endured and say, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:21-22