Last week we looked at God’s Sovereignty in relation to our trials. We learned how we can trust Him to provide for us through those trials. Both Matthew and Luke explained that He cares for us even more than the sparrows, lilies and grasses of the fields.
Today I want to explore how the trials that come our way are beautiful expressions of His providence. Regardless of the purpose of our trials – pruning, testing, or some sort of consequence- they can all be considered discipline. In Hebrews, discipline is explained for us:
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Providence, by definition, is “the protective care of God.”
I believe, regardless of why, it is purely God’s providence that brings us to and through things that will increase our faith, make us stronger people and produce the “peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3).
At this point in my journey, I can say that God drew me closer to Himself as I walked through my trials. He used those trials in my life to produce greater maturity. I have heard them called a refiner’s fire and that has been my experience. I was and am being refined by my trials. To me, that’s His providence. He loves me enough to not let me stagnate in my life. He acts to keep me moving onward and upward.
Our trials are God’s protective care on our lives.
He is looking out for His children, helping them learn and grow in Him and making them more like Himself. His protection doesn’t offer smooth sailing and no hardship. It offers what’s best for us and what will help us grow and mature in Him.
“God will not bring us more than we can handle,” so the saying goes but in truth it should finish with “with His help”.
The trials that God brings to us are not designed for us to muscle through alone. Rather they are designed to cause us to lean on the One who created us and loves us enough to spur us on to greater maturity. Our trials are meant to send us running to our Heavenly Father.
In closing, I’d like to leave you with the questions and answers from the Heidelberg Catechism on the providence of God:
Question 27. What dost thou mean by the providence of God?
Answer: The almighty and everywhere present power of God; (a) whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs (b) heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, (c) fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, (d) riches and poverty, (e) yea, and all things come, not by chance, but be his fatherly hand. (f)
Question 28. What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence does still uphold all things?
Answer: That we may be patient in adversity; (a) thankful in prosperity; (b) and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, (c) that nothing shall separate us from his love; (d) since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move. (e)
Our trials brought about through God’s providence can be considered a great act of love from our Father to us, His children. I am thankful for God’s providence this week! Join me next week as we take a deeper look at God’s love and our trials.
If you missed any in this Thanksgiving series of God and Our Trials, you can catch up here:
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