God’s invisible hand is at work all around us to accomplish his good purposes. We sometimes refer to this as God’s providence. God’s providence is his often-unnoticed guidance of events. God guides events toward two ends.
First, he provides for his creation. Jesus taught about this aspect of God’s providence. He said that God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good. He causes the rain to fall on the unrighteous and the righteous (see Matthew 5:45).
Another term used for this part of God’s work is “common grace.” Have you wondered why God sometimes blesses those who are wicked? It is an expression of his common grace. He gives the sunshine, the rainfall, and many other blessings to all creation indiscriminately.
Second, God’s providence works for the redemption of his people. To redeem is to gain back something that is lost. Because of disobedience and rebellion, people are lost from God’s favor and turned over to his judgment. God sent a Redeemer, a Savior to regain ownership of his people and restore us to his favor. That Redeemer is Jesus Christ.
When Jesus came, he was opposed by the religious leaders. They plotted against him, seized him, unjustly condemned him, and turned him over to be publicly executed like a man cursed by God.
Those enemies of Christ thought they were destroying Jesus, but by God’s providence they were unwittingly participating in God’s plan to provide the final and full atonement for our sins. Jesus’ voluntary death on a Roman cross was carried out by God’s design. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Then God displayed his victory over every enemy and his mastery over all history by raising Jesus from the dead and exalting him to the right hand of glory! What an impressive feat!
But what about the widespread spiritual darkness in our world today?
We live at a time when many people refuse to distinguish between a tumor and a baby, a time when our culture apparently cannot tell the difference between a boy and a girl, when many people confuse sexual immorality and faithful loving commitment. They hear someone speaking the truth in love and label it as hate speech. It is a time of spiritual deception when even the darkness is called light and light is called darkness.
God’s invisible hand of providence is at work despite this present spiritual darkness.
What about all the economic uncertainty?
Inflation is driving the price of everything higher, making the dollars we have worth less. Many of our leaders enact policies that make life more difficult, lowering our standard of living, decreasing our liberties, discouraging people from working, increasing the number of criminals who run free. Despair tempts us to give up hope, but we need not do that.
God’s invisible hand of providence is at work despite the uncertainties of this age.
What about heartbreaking family losses?
We want everyone to live long and happy lives, but in this world, that does not always happen. Unexpected losses can be devastating. Sometimes we fully appreciate a family member only after they are gone. Sometimes a wayward child or grandchild can cause great anxiety. Sometimes a marriage falls apart or disappoints. These and other family disruptions can truly be disheartening.
We need not lose heart. God’s invisible hand of providence is at work despite family disruptions and losses.
What about the faulty faith of God’s people? Who among us can say that our faith is a finished product? We are all works in progress. We gather regularly for teaching and preaching and discipleship so that God’s Spirit can advance his work in us, transforming us into the image of Christ, opening our eyes to see his hand at work in us and around us, opening our hearts to accept his timing and his methods.
God’s providence never slumbers. His plans are unstoppable. His love is immeasurable. His grace is unshakable. Our faith in Christ rests on a sure footing.
May God give us eyes to see his hand at work on our behalf,