This blog is an exaltation of God’s Infinite Wisdom, Christ’s Sovereign Power, and His giddy, eternal love for His homeward bound Bride. I am indebted to so many dead saints, but especially to two living ones; John Piper and Kris Lundgaard. John Piper because he reached back in time, as it were, and recovered and trumpeted Jonathan Edward’s affirmation that it is not enough to blandly acknowledge the attributes of God, but rather, we as His beloved are to relish and adore those attributes. To Kris Lundgaard because his books based on the works of John Owen inspired the format of this blog which is to take the writing of the English Puritans (and other dead, godly men) and bring them into the 21st Century vernacular. May the Lord Jesus help me in this effort.
If you spend much time reading the English Puritans and other older writers, you will soon be struck by their reverence for and constant reference to the Providence of God. We can adore God’s sovereign power as we cultivate a low view of man in the little he can control and a high view of God acknowledging that He superintends all the events in time and works all things according to His pleasure and for the good of His own.
The following is my modern paraphrase from James Alexander’s CONSOLATION, written in 1852; it is from a chapter called “The Providence of God—in its application to the whole path of life.”
The course of God's providence toward His own people is inexplicable. It is not amazing that we are ignorant to these providences. Most of the pivotal events in our lives are contrary to our expectations.
God does not consult us concerning His wise, sovereign, and merciful arrangements on our behalf. We are comforted throughout Scripture as we are told to trust Him with our whole being. One who loves us better than we love ourselves is, as we speak, subjecting all things to Himself! All of our affairs including the number of hairs on our heads are under His superintendence.
With such limited knowledge of events and even of our own hearts, we cannot order our lives. We are currently in a “state of discipline” —a temporary state through which we are passing to fit us for another, more glorious eternal state.
As we journey Home, we know that Christ is our Way Home but we don’t know the details of our particular journey or what God intends to do with us. The horizon of our knowledge is very, very, very limited. The circle is tiny which encloses the legitimate boundaries for our planning and management. Our way is constrained more than we imagine; and the freedom with which we flatter ourselves is checked and controlled by arrangements beyond our extremely limited knowledge.
Intricate sequences of events which alter an entire life are often dependent on a trivial, unforeseen, even casual incident. By taking one subway train instead of another, a man may meet a person who changes the whole current of his life. We take little notice of the twists and turns of events happening in the midst of our lives each day which act as pivots on which God's providence reconfigures our subsequent histories.
Contrary to the arguments of haughty men, the world is not governed by the trifling wisdom of men! It is governed with infinite wisdom; God's infinite wisdom. Men fret about global warming and proliferating atomic bombs and host conferences to solve problems like these and others, and don’t acknowledge (let alone love and trust) the Infinite Wisdom of God, who superintends all things.
What if we did control our lives? What we consider prosperity and success often results in emptiness and vexation; and just as true, subsequent joy here on Earth often results from events which at the time are considered disastrous.
Suppose that men did control their destinies as is often implied as we trundle through our university days. Wouldn’t any man sitting down to map out his future life for himself exclude all distresses and trials. The jolly cup he would pour for himself would be smooth, pleasurable, and full of ease ? Nothing would discipline or distress his heart and thus he would not be conformed to the image of the Son. Men cannot choose that course which is best for him. Men do battle with their hearts so they don’t have to admit their foolishness and ignorance about what is best for them at any given junction.
But, thank God’s providence, that it is His prerogative to insert trials in due measure and at the proper points so a man of God can grow in grace and be brought to that state which God intends; not his continual ease and happiness, but being changed via trial and trouble into the lovely likeness of His precious Son.