Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Under His Providence

Moose Tracks practicing "paws up" with me
We love it when his ear flips back.

The Heidelberg Catechism was one early (sixteenth-century) Reformed Protestant set of questions and answers for instructing believers in sound doctrine. The Westminster Shorter Catechism is the more famous such discipleship tool in English, but there are some beautiful, consoling gems in the Heidelberg one as well. The following pair of questions on God's providence comforts me and stabilizes me in the ongoing storms my family faces. What a foundation of faith it must have been for the children who learned these truths from their earliest memories.

27. Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?
    A. God's providence is
    his almighty and ever present power, 1
    whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds
    heaven and earth and all creatures, 2
    and so governs them that
    leaf and blade,
    rain and drought,
    fruitful and barren years,
    food and drink,
    health and sickness,
    riches and poverty, 3
    indeed, all things,
    come to us not by chance 
    but by his fatherly hand. 5
    1.Jer 23:23, 24; Acts 17:24-28.
    2.Heb 1:3.
    3.Jer 5:24; Acts 14:15-17; Jn 9:3; Prov 22:2.
    4.Prov 16:33.
    5.Mt 10:29.

28. Q. What does it benefit us to know that God has created all things and still upholds them by his providence?
    A. We can be patient in adversity, 1
    thankful in prosperity, 2
    and with a view to the future
    we can have a firm confidence
    in our faithful God and Father
    that no creature shall separate us
    from his love; 3
    for all creatures are so completely in his hand
    that without his will
    they cannot so much as move. 4
    1.Job 1:21, 22; Ps 39:10; Jas 1:3.
    2.Deut 8:10; 1 Thess 5:18.
    3.Ps 55:22; Rom 5:3-5; 8:38, 39.
    4.Job 1:12; 2:6; Prov 21:1; Acts 17:24-28.

"Indeed, all things come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand."

The Lord God Almighty is powerful and sovereign, with no detail of our circumstances beyond His ability to transform and redeem. Nothing is too hard for Him.

At the same time, He is "our faithful God and Father" from whom those who trust Christ can never be separated.

He is strong, and He is loving. He has the power to do what is best for us and the love that makes Him willing to do what is best for us, even though this often shows up in surprising ways that may not seem best to our limited perspective.

He is not safe, but He is good. Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief.

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