Saturday, November 02, 2013

God gracious providence provides all our needs

"The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack."  (Psalm 23: 1)

The truth that God provides all our needs in a timely manner is an idea that is found throughout  sacred scripture.  Amazingly, this is also the constant teaching of the Church from time immemorial.  Yet, ask any man on the street whether he believes that God is supplying everything he needs in a timely manner and you may notice some doubts and hesitations..

God's gracious and loving providence is expressed in this sentence of a song used frequently in  Church:

"Have you not seen All you have needed has been met by His gracious ordaining?"

"Gracious ordaining" means of course God's providence.  The first time I became aware of this thought in a worship service, I said to myself, "Wait a minute.  This isn't my experience."  As a self-employed person, I prayed desperately for jobs.  I shouted literally  to Heaven for any help to improve my finances.  These may not be the only felt needs but they were the constant ones.  How am I expected to answer honestly the question:  "Have you not seen All you have needed has been met by His gracious ordaining?"  I thought about it at the time and decided that the question like many questions about faith and religion is simply too mysterious.  I now realize that this attitude was an error.  What I should have done was to challenge God in prayer to show me how He met all my needs by His gracious ordaining.

But recently, as I read and reflect more on the subject of Prayer, I begin to get some insight on the question.  The key to understanding the question is this important teaching of Jesus:

"What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”  (Luke 11: 11 -13)

In other words, the Father knows what is good for us and that is what He provides.  I like that.  I reviewed the things I thank God for everyday, for example:  where I live, where I worship and the work  I do.  These three life essentials match my personality and my desire.  That is why I thank God for them everyday.

I then reviewed the petitions I ask for that are not "granted."   For example: more jobs and more money.  I came to see clearly that more jobs will bring more money and less time for God.  More money will bring more distractions and more conceitedness.  More distractions will lead to all types of temptation.  More money will also lead to pride.  I winced as I thought of the consequence of pride.  God detests the proud.

So how do I today answer the question: "Have you not seen All you have needed has been met by His gracious ordaining?"  Of course it is true.  I have seen all my needs provided by God.  I pray for wisdom and understanding everyday to see how God does it.

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