There is a sin that plagues many in today’s church: It is the sin of contending against the providence of God.
Theologian Derek Thomas, in answering the question of, “What is Providence?” from his booklet of the same name, writes, “This doctrine insists that everything that happens, (yes, everything) that happens does so because God wills it to happen, wills it to happen before it happens, wills it to happen in the way that it happens.” Dozens, if not hundreds, of passages from the Bible will confirm this principle; the reader is directed to the life of Joseph, Genesis 37-50; in the New Testament, consider Acts 2:22-28 in relation to the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Job suffered greatly, and he complained to God in regards to his circumstances, “Moreover the Lord answered Job and said: ‘Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.’ ” (Job 40:1-2.) Job felt God had “multiplied his wounds without cause” (Job 9:17), thinking he deserved better (Job 10:1-22).
I hope you, dear reader, do not act and think as Job once did regarding the outworking of God’s providences in your life.
Afflictions, trials, disappointments of all sorts will befall us as we pilgrimage through this world. Even so, it is sin to murmur against God for the things we suffer. The author of the book of Hebrews tells us to keep our eyes on Christ, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-17), and James pleads, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4.)
Dear readers, why do we from time to time complain against God’s providence knowing that he intends it for our growth in the faith? Be encouraged, for St. Paul writes in Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (See, as well, verse 29 following.)
If you doubt God’s good intention for his people, consider reading the rest of Job’s history (Job 42:10-17). In one way or another, God’s providential care will ultimately be an overwhelming blessing for his people. Trust the Lord.
Christianson serves as pastor at Grace Reformed Church in Clarkston.