Not long ago we were invited to a dinner meeting at a lovely restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. When we arrived, we gave the maître d’ the name of our party. We were promptly escorted to a private room, where our server greeted us warmly. Once we were seated, he handed each of us a leather-bound menu with the name of the restaurant embossed on the cover. Classy. Then, opening the menus, we were surprised to encounter the latest in touch screen technology. Very cool.
We placed our orders, then settled into comfortable, uninterrupted conversation. In just the right amount of time, our server returned with our appetizers and a little later with our salads. But when he returned the next time, three additional waiters, who carried our entrees, accompanied him. This was the first time we had seen these other three, but they seemed to know exactly who had ordered what. This was especially impressive because the plates they were holding were covered with shiny chrome domes. At precisely the same moment, the silver covers were lifted…followed by a chorus of oohs and aahs. The entrees looking up at us after the big reveal were exactly what we had ordered. Nicely done.
The problem is, when it comes to real life, what’s on our plates under those chrome helmets is often something we didn’t order and might not even want. And because the selection on others’ plates is clearly visible, we may be tempted to compare ours to theirs. “That’s not fair,” we may protest. “This isn’t what I wanted. Why didn’t I get that dinner rather than this one?” To make things worse, we may not have had a chance to “order” at all.
What we’d prefer would be to choose what looks good to us, our best-life-now hopes and dreams, and then to have the server return, lift the silver dome, and – voila! – exactly what we wanted. And occasionally that may be the case. But sometimes it’s not. Often it’s not. God’s divinely appointed sovereignty is usually a surprise to us mortals. So why would we trust a God who doesn’t give us what we want? In fact, why would a good, loving God serve up unappetizing portions to us? You can keep your cancer. I’ll take a pony.
This book is about trusting God to write your story. But as we’ve said, this is really about God’s Story. His ways. His watchful care over His creation. His Providence.
Providence – it’s not a word you hear a lot in everyday conversations. In fact, a search of Google books shows that the use of the word in print has steadily declined since 1800. But it’s an incredibly important word and concept.
Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary gives us insight into this bedrock truth that we need to learn to love and lean hard into:
Foresight, timely care; particularly, active foresight…accompanied with the procurement of what is necessary for future use…In theology, the care and superintendence which God exercises over his creatures.
Tucked inside this three-syllable word is the shorter word provide, which combines the Latin videre, meaning, “to see” (think “video”) with the prefix pro, meaning “before.” Pro-video, “to see before” – that’s the essence of God’s Providence.
God goes before us. He sees and knows everything before it even happens. And he makes provision for whatever we will need at that time. Stop and think about that for a moment. Imagine the peace, comfort, and hope that would be ours if we really believed that He knows and sees everything that lies before us, before it happens – and that He has already provided whatever we will need when we get there! What freedom from fear, anxiety, and dread that should give us.
Taken from You Can Trust God to Write Your Story: Embracing the Mysteries of Providence by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth & Robert Wolgemuth (©2019). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.