No Special Providence?

It is one thing to profess to believe in God's sovereignty respecting His ability to intervene in certain affairs and quite another to believe that He is sovereign over the circumstances of our lives when things seem to go terribly wrong and when they seem to be going quite well.

When we contemplate God’s sovereignty, we delve into the doctrine of divine providence. God is in absolute control of every moment, interaction, event, provision, protection, trial, difficulty and conflict of our lives. He has determined all of the events of our lives and is governing His own accordingly. 

 

Many Christians profess to believe in the sovereignty of God. They will speak of God’s sovereignty in the salvation and damnation of sinners. They may even remind others that God is sovereign over the trials and challenging circumstances of life. However, it is one thing to profess to believe in God’s sovereignty respecting His ability to intervene in certain affairs and quite another to believe that He is sovereign over the circumstances of our lives when things seem to go terribly wrong and when they seem to be going quite well. When we contemplate God’s sovereignty, we delve into the doctrine of divine providence. God is in absolute control of every moment, interaction, event, provision, protection, trial, difficulty and conflict of our lives. He has determined all of the events of our lives and is governing His own accordingly.

In his Popular Lectures on Theological Themes, Archibald Alexander Hodge relayed the following story about John Witherspoon’s interactions with a man who had just encountered a near-death experience. He wrote:

“The great Dr. Witherspoon lived at a country-seat called Tusculum, on Rocky Hill, two miles north of Princeton. One day a man rushed into his presence crying, ‘Dr. Witherspoon, help me to thank God for his wonderful providence. My horse ran away, my buggy was dashed to pieces on the rocks, and behold! I am unharmed.’ The good doctor laughed benevolently at the inconsistent, halfway character of the man’s religion. ‘Why,’ he answered, ‘I know a providence a thousand times better than that of yours. I have driven down that rocky road to Princeton hundreds of times and my horse never ran away and my buggy was never dashed to pieces.’ Undoubtedly, the deliverance was providential, but just as much so also were the uneventful rides of the college president. God is in the atom just as really and effectually as in the planet.”

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