Continuing a series presenting our beliefs in plain English, this time it is about the area of what we call Divine Providence.
Providence is the way the Lord manages and deals with everything he creates, including ourselves. The word Providence points out that God provides.
Of all beliefs, this is the one that people find the hardest to work out or see happening because we see so much human suffering, often unwarranted, frequently inexplicable. We’ll probably always need to take another careful look at it.
One starting point is to look at the kind of world God has made. It is very beautiful of course, but it is not a cocoon and we don’t live in cotton wool. We can get hurt and feel pain; we can be killed in an accident. We can make war; people can die from famine and disease.
There is the positive side of this too. Many people feel moved to work to make peoples’ lives better, to alleviate, heal and provide. Modern research finds ways and means to develop this. More people are increasingly aware and determined to improve the world.
Both of these show us the reality of Providence. God gives us a world in which we are free to make choices, a world in which we see so much order yet so much disorder, where we can become cynical or concerned for others. God also stirs us to good activities for the sake of others.
The goal of Providence is to care for our spirit and to give it every opportunity to choose what we call heaven. It keeps us in the best balance possible, providing us with good experiences but also allowing us to meet hard knocks and big questions so that we think about life carefully and do not take anything for granted. In that way it is quite accurate to say that Providence is always leading us.
Indeed, a truth about Providence is that it is involved in everything that happens, not just those moments when we say, ‘That must have been providential!’ Maybe it was, but so is everything else.