Tuesday, May 06, 2014

God's Faithfulness and Hard Providence

This was a comment I made on another blog concerning times of hard providence.
How do we reconcile the faithfulness of God with times of hard providence?  I think one of the best examples of this occurs in Genesis 12, with the call of God to Abram to the promised land. When Abram arrived in Canaan the Lord appeared to him and Abram built an altar and worshiped. But what did God call him into? He called Abram right into the middle of a famine, and famines don’t go away overnight.
God could have prevented the famine. He could have directed Abram’s journey so that he arrived after the famine was over; but, no, the Lord’s providence was for Abram to arrive in the middle of the famine; and from the Scriptures there is no explicit statement of why God did so.
We can glean from the text that this was indeed a test of Abram’s faith and trust, and a proof and confirmation of God’s faithfulness. But it was a hard providence, with no explanation from God about why or what purpose this hard providence served.
As in the story in the post, there were unforeseeable circumstances…unforeseeable to us as finite beings, but totally foreknown by our omnipotent God, the One who has declared the end from the beginning.
What do we need to keep in mind during times such as this? A progression in Psalm 119 helps us with this.
119:68 You are good and do good.
119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted
119:75 I know, O Lord, that your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
119:76-77a O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, according to Your word to Your servant. May Your compassion come to me that I may live…
The Lord is a God of faithfulness (Psalm 89:5,8). In affliction and through affliction God is being faithful to us by accomplishing what concerns us (Psalm 138:8), and that is our eternal good.  So during times of hard providence let us keep in mind that the Lord is being faithful to us in this life by preparing us for the next.

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