• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Providence?

Providence?  Kind of a strange word to our ears today, but which is psalm-104-1rich in meaning for our daily lives.  We could talk about His foresight, guidance or sovereign hand over all things happening in our lives and in this world.  Yet, that ‘comfort’ needs to go much deeper into our heart so as to produce a change in how we live and act in light of this biblical reality.

The Heidelberg Catechism is one of several Protestant catechisms.  It was written in 1563 and follows the standard pattern of question and answer, where the question is normally asked of a catechumen (that’s a word to look up!) who then responds with the appropriate answer, summarizing numerous biblical texts.

One of the questions (Question #28) relating to God’s providence is the following:

What does it benefit us to know that God has created all things and still upholds them by his providence?

Answer: We can be patient in adversity,¹ thankful in prosperity,² and with a view to the future we can have a firm confidence in our faithful God and Father that no creature shall separate us from his love;³ for all creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they cannot so much as move.

¹Job 1:21, 22; Ps 39:10; Jas 1:3.

²Deut 8:10; 1 Thess 5:18.

³Ps 55:22; Rom 5:3-5; 8:38, 39.

⁴Job 1:12; 2:6; Prov 21:1; Acts 17:24-28

Knowing that God cares for us in such a way gives rise to patience, thankfulness and assurance.  If we apply this thought to cross cultural ministry today, it would mean:

  • There is ‘light’ at the end of the tunnel when learning the language of the people among whom we serve
  • Our witness is never in vain, even if rejected by those to whom we are called
  • We should be saying ‘thanks’ a lot more than we currently do

If you were asked the question: What does it benefit us to know that God has created all things and still upholds them by his providence?   Would your response contain anything about patience, thankfulness and assurance?  The joys and difficulties of cross cultural work call us to together think more deeply about God’s providence.

 

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