The Puritan John Flavel said, “The providence of God is like Hebrew words. It can only be read backwards” (The Mystery of Providence). There’s a lot of truth in that statement. We should be careful about trying to discern God’s specific purposes through particular events in our own time. Perhaps some perspective is needed that can only come via the turning of the calendar. This can be especially helpful to remember after election days. If our candidate didn’t win, we tend to portray things more negatively than they likely are, and if they won, we think, “we’re living in the glory days.” The truth is probably found in neither extreme.
However, sometimes connecting the dots of providence is a little easier. For example, over the last few weeks at CPC there has been a strong emphasis on ministry to men, women, marriages, and families. A few weeks ago, the men of the church had the first bi-annual ‘Breakfast and Theology,’ with Dr. Carlton Wynne, who taught on the importance of the doctrine of Union with Christ in our communion with God. Last weekend, our ladies had a wonderful retreat centered around Talena Hembree’s helpful words on mentoring. On Sunday morning, Mark 10:1-12 directed us to Christ’s teaching on marriage (Additionally in September and October we had two CPC weddings, with Charles and Anna and Jake and Melanie). This Lord’s Day, Jesus will lead us to consider our ministry to children, in the home and the church.
We may not always be able to grasp what God is providentially doing. Sometimes, we think we know but then a curveball comes, and we feel uncertain about the present and future. At other moments, things may be a little clearer. One instance of this is the need to take to heart Christ’s instruction over the past few weeks, for us to be godly men and women, who foster Christ honoring marriages, and have Word-centered homes. These topics have recently been providentially stressed. The session didn’t necessarily plan it that way, but God did. He ordered these events for our benefit. We would do well to pay attention to how God has unfolded his providence through the teaching ministry of the church.
It’s easy to get off kilter from the Lord’s Word. Thanks be to God that he marks our steps, so that we would be directed his way and not our own. It is good to know, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps (Prov. 16:9).” It’s even better to know that the one blazing the path before us is our crucified and resurrected Savior, who loves us and takes care of us. Such love and commitment from Christ should increase our love and commitment to him, as men and women, and in our marriages and families. Regardless of whether we can read his providence or not. — Pastor Clif