Pondering Providence

From our family devotions, we’re on Question 11 of the Westminster Catechism:

Q.11: What is God’s Providence?

A: God’s providence is His completely holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing every creature and every action.

A quote from the book goes as follows:

God plans everything that happens in advance. Then he causes everything to happen just as He planned. We call this providence. God is holy. Every plan He forms, as well as the way in which He carries it out, is completely holy. God is perfectly wise. He never makes a mistake in what He plans or does, but always chooses the very best. God is powerful. Since all power belongs to Him, nothing can keep Him from doing exactly as He has planned.

Before covering this topic in our family devotions, I hadn’t really thought about Providence. I thought that it was just a way of referring to God as more of an intangible force, rather than as a Personal God. But now that it has been defined basically as “God working out His plans in everyday life,” I can buy into it.

Yes, I believe that God is Sovereign over all things. He is all Powerful and all Knowing. He is Good and Holy and Righteous and Wise. Yes, this is True. I can believe that whatever happens in my life, God is in control and He will glorify Himself through whatever happens. I can trust Him, because He loves me. He has good plans for me.

But…then the questions start:

  • If God plans everything in advance, then how can we have free will?
  • What about sin? If God’s plans are perfectly Holy, then did He plan for Adam and Eve to disobey Him and bring sin into the World?
  • Why did God create Satan if He knew in advance that he would rebel against Him?
  • How can it be God’s plan that I disobey Him and try to Him?

I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I think that on one level God gives us free will. Just like He created the natural laws, He created free will. We can make choices to follow Him or not. And yet on another level, He knew this and planned this and it will in some unfathomable way complete His purposes in a way that will bring Glory to Himself. And the way that it all comes together will be more perfect, more pleasing to God, more Holy, than it it had happened some other way.

I know it’s True, but I can’t explain it. I can’t get my mind around it. And so I must look at He Who Loves me, as a young child would a father, and Trust Him.

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