“Take a right on providence, pass Champions and the next, and a left on green meadows.” I remember hearing someone give directions that went something like that, and it made me laugh. Yes, a right on Providence! Do you ever notice words around you that are actually pretty powerful words that have been watered down to a street name or an apartment complex name or a brand name of some sort? It bothers me because the essence of the words are so beautiful and I can miss it with overuse or glaze over it. Well, this week, I took a deeper look at the word providence.
If you look up the definition of providence in the dictionary or google, you will find it says “the protective care of God” Wow.
Do you believe in the sovereignty of God? Do you believe in his goodness and ultimate power?
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (Genesis 50:20)
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. (Psalm 145:17)
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
I think we can be so tempted all the time to not believe things that are untrue about who we are and who God is.
This year I got a bit more familiar with the psalms of lament, the book of Job and Ecclesiastes along with crying out personally to the Lord.
This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Acts 2:23)
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)
Last week, I pruned my fruit trees. It was painful to take away so much of the growth of last year. I know it is best for the tree’s strength and fruitfulness and overall health, but man, it was definitely a difficult process for me to do. I had been putting it off for a while, and looked up as much research as I could (there are so many ideas out there-I wish that someone could be with me telling me exactly what to do to make sure I’m doing it right.) I imagine God as the master gardener who knows exactly just what to cut, the angles on the bud, the undergrowth, the branches with the bad angles that will not support the fruit. He would know exactly what pruning shape to pick, what branches to keep, and he would snip at just the right angle, clean cut and perfect. I failed a bit, but I am expectant in the grace of gardening, that the trees will swing back even with some pruning fails. I did the best I could do, imperfect as I am. I put all my pruned branches in water vases in my house waiting for them to bloom in the coming weeks. I did this last year at the advice of a fruit tree expert. She said it made pruning easier to enjoy the pruned branches like picking flowers. It was such a delight to see the flowering branches add the beauty to my home before they were just sticks.
Can I believe that God has protective care for me? For all his own? Sometimes the circumstances feel like a storm around us or a fire in the bronx that ruins our good plans for the day. Maybe just maybe God has something for us today that we didn’t plan for, but we actually needed. Maybe it will be painful or devastating or disappointing or surprising. Maybe He is who He says He is.
Have mercy on us for not believing you, not taking you at your word, not even knowing your word. Give us your Holy Spirit to help us see you and your providence, your protective care, more and more and more today.
I do declare these words to you:
Romans 8: 1-4
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
By the way, I have to thank the lovely Teressa Mahoney for being so generous to share her song with us to frame my podcast episodes for this season. This song is called “Always You” *from her new album Disillusions. I hope you will check out her music and follow her on social media. She’s a kindred spirit of mine and a new friend who posts examples of gratuitous beauty on instagram. I hope you will say follow her, listen to her music, and say hi!
You can listen to this podcast here.
Photo by Anna Kardos Photography