What is God’s providence?


11Question 11 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is God’s providence?

The answer is, “God’s providence is His completely holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing every creature and every action.

A group of fisherman, no strangers to boats, felt overmatched by the storm. They tried every trick they knew to keep the boat on top of the water, but thought they were going to die. Despite the storm, Jesus was sleeping in the back of boat. Because of their fear, the disciples woke Jesus and asked him to do something.

This story is found in Matthew 8:23–27:

“When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”” (NASB)

As I thought about Question 11, this story came to mind. This is one story among many which demonstrate God preserving and governing creation.

God not only powerfully preserves and governs, but he does so in holiness and wisdom. God is big enough to bring about his plan for this world. No Caesar, no king, no dictator, no president or any angelic being can thwart what God will accomplish.

I find this helpful with a national election looming. This is an election where both candidates for the top job are seriously flawed and (for me) seriously unlikable. It is like choosing between getting mumps or getting measles. Either way it is going to be painful.

We can use a good dose of holy and wise right now. And this is what we have in Jesus.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, NASB)

Hang in there, it gets better . . .