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A Glimpse of God's Providential Workings

A Host of Sparrows, by Lucy Stevens

by Hiram R. Diaz III

Give the current cultural climate, it’s sometimes hard to see the good what God is doing as the world seems to fall apart. However, in his mercy he often let’s us catch a glimpse of his providential working. This is a rebuke, on the one hand, because it reminds us that the Sovereign of the universe does not need us to accomplish his will. Not only this, but he does not need us to know what he is doing in order to bring about his will. As Psalm 115:3 declares – 

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

And he declares in Isa 46:10b –

“...‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose’…”

On the other hand, being given a glimpse of how the Lord is providentially also serves to encourage us, reminding us that we are not alone.

I had an experience like this several days ago in a local coffee shop. As I packed up my belongings to head home, I heard some young men talking about the Dead Sea Scrolls, sources, and other things that are often discussed in apologetics circles. I decided to speak with them, and found out that they were theologically sound and excited about their faith. This is something that is rare to just find “in the world.” At least, that’s been my experience. Yet at that moment, I was reminded of the fact that the Spirit goes wherever he wishes, accomplishing his plans in his divinely ordained manner. It is easy to get jaded when you see pastors fall away, people get harmed by wolves in sheep’s clothing (that you warned them about!), and the world generally ganging up on Christians in an attempt to kill the Gospel we preach. 

As I spoke with these young men, I was refreshed by their outspoken fervor for Christ and his Gospel. I also was saddened by the fact that there are some seasoned Christian men who would look down on them for having a knowledgeable zeal. Disillusioned by mentors who fell away, or hypocritical and/or false brethren, these older men seemingly have grown bitter and feel like it’s their duty to tell their successors, in terms as hopeless as one can conceive, that being zealous for the truth is “idealistic” and, therefore, “unrealistic.” In their misery, they apparently seek to make others equally miserable.

That, however, is not how we are to respond to (a.)disappointments in our Christian life, and (b.)excitement in the hearts of younger believers. Rather, we are to encourage one another to press on and continue to fight the good fight. Listen to how Paul spoke to the young pastor Timothy in 2 Tim 1:5-7 – 

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

In fact, in 1 Tim 4:12 the apostle tells Timothy – 

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity...

Rather than discouraging the young pastor, Paul encourages Timothy to continue to walk in faith and holiness, and to not let anyone despise his youth.

I’m using the issue of youth here, but that doesn’t mean I’m speaking of biological youth only. Those who are spiritually younger than us ought not to be discouraged simply because they are young in the faith. Instead, we ought to encourage them to continue growing.

Not only are we commanded to do so by our Lord Christ, we also are know how harsh the attacks of the world, the flesh, and the devil can be and, consequently, ought to provide respite for our family in Christ as they encounter evil in the world and in their own flesh. We ought to serve one another, especially our younger siblings, lest their love grow cold. And in turn, the Lord will refresh our hearts, and stir up our love for him.