Posted in providence, theology

Many mercies go unnoticed in the course of providence

By Elizabeth Prata

This video has been going around for a while. I might have even commented on it before.

Bear sneaks up on oblivious elderly couple, 55 seconds

Before I was saved, I used to wonder about providence a lot. I didn’t know that was what it was called at the time, though. I just used to wonder about near misses- the kind I knew about and the kind I didn’t.

Here is a definition of the Doctrine of Providence,

Providence means that God has not abandoned the world that he created, but rather works within that creation to manage all things according to the “immutable counsel of His own will” (Westminster Confession of Faith, V, i).

I was saved at age 42. I used to read a lot of spirituality books, especially after a local or a global disaster. Curious, I’d wonder for example, if two people were in a room during a hurricane, when the roof fell in why did one die and the other not? When a car slid out on the icy highway why did that passenger get killed but not this one? How many times did I have a near miss and not know it? These were the imponderables and the impenetrables.

Here in this interesting article from The Atlantic, the author interviewed many people who survived 9/11’s terrorism attack on New York City’s Twin Towers. The author talks about the unlikely coincidences that saved one and smote another. He wonders at the “sheer randomness” of it all. How “blind luck” was behind one who lived and not behind one who died. We’re all curious about these things, the unsaved calling it fate or luck, the saved knowing it as the providential hand of God.

There were some incidences where I knew I’d had a near miss. I was attacked by gypsies in Quito, they slashed my pants trying to get at my wallet. Our sailboat was almost flattened by a barge in Northern Florida. We narrowly missed peeling off the underside of our boat on a reef in The Bahamas. A box fell off a truck on a 4 lane high speed highway in heavy traffic and bounced toward me then veered past me.

How many times was there a metaphorical bear lurking at the edge of my vision that I didn’t see but was protected from? Now that I am saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, I know Who protects me. I know who preserved me through 4 long decades of sinful living until the appointed time to come through the bloody threshold of the cross. And I know why He preserved me, so I can glorify God and enjoy Him forever. It is the chief end of man.

It’s wonderful to know that such things aren’t random. There is no fate. Chance doesn’t exist. God is in control of all the events that happen to us, and all the ones that don’t happen to us. John Calvin wrote of Providence in his Institutes:

Therefore, since God claims to himself the right of governing the world, a right unknown to us, let it be our law of modesty and soberness to acquiesce in his supreme authority regarding his will as our only rule of justice, and the most perfect cause of all things,—not that absolute will, indeed, of which sophists prate, when by a profane and impious divorce, they separate his justice from his power, but that universal overruling Providence from which nothing flows that is not right, though the reasons thereof may be concealed.

We might not ever know why things happen, but we know that whatever happens, it is Right.



Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

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