My kids will tell you, I’m a big believer in “looking things up” when you’re not sure what they mean. I challenged my kids to do just that whenever homework or a book assignment forced them to ask about as specific word or meaning or place. Sometimes they would and sometimes they would whine a bit and say “Daaaaaaaad, just tell me!”
Looking at Easter and our upcoming celebration of Good Friday, I was praying – asking God to help me renew my appreciation of this Holy Day and I felt He led me to consider the word and concept of “Providence”. Ironically, my Heavenly father was telling me to “look it up” to be exact 🙂 , just like I had with my kids… Here is what I found;
/ˈprɒvɪdəns/ [prov-i-duhns – “God, especially when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.” (Dictionary.com -source) so to be extra clear… here is what omniscient means – having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.
Ok, now that’s starting to make more sense… Easter is the time of year we Christians are supposed to stop and appreciate the majesty and power of God Almighty to redeem and restore us (mankind) from all that has been and all that will ever be. We have the modern luxury of having a 20/20 perspective of those historical events. We already know how the story really turns out, but for those disciples and followers of Jesus in the moment, it was NOT a good place or time…things were not turning out well for them in the short-term…
After three years of personal almost one on one times with Jesus, the twelve disciples had their lives flipped upside down and 180 from where they thought they were with Christ. Their Messiah (it seemed) had turned out to be totally human, capable of being deceived and politically manipulated into being a scapegoat and just another statistic of the Roman occupation of Israel. It appeared that Jesus was not who he claimed to be and that they (the disciples) had put their faith in a very sincere and dynamic Holy man, but in the end…just a man. Their disappointment, their frustration, confusion and their fear must have overwhelmed them. We know it did for Peter and Thomas, and with Judas betraying not only Jesus, but the other eleven…morale really could not have been much lower. Things were not turning out well…
Into this haze of disillusionment and fear, comes the reality of the Resurrection.
Jesus it turns out is in fact the Christ, He is the Messiah. His triumphant reunion with the disciples is well documented in the gospels, it is very specific, very intentional in the ways that He appears to them, addressing their individual doubts and fear and shame. He restores them all, touching and helping and encouraging them to pick up where they left off… more convinced than ever that Jesus is exactly who they thought, although His methods and manner is so different from any other King in History that it still puzzles them.
So what’s this got to do with… Providence?
Simply this… whatever your going through, whatever your feeling, whatever “seems” to be off the rails in your life, is still under the divine principle of Providence. God has not abandoned you, He has not walked away and left you to lie in a pile of your own poo, He is alive, living, active and working to restore and renew the things that have been broken in your life. He’s all about resurrecting the bones of our past failures into the new life and new hope of a redeemed future. It’s more than a metaphor.
So this Easter, take a moment and reflect on the divine “Providence” of God in your life to date, remember how He has intervened in your life time after time to take care of you, to protect, provide and encourage you. He is constantly at work in our lives, healing our hurts and lifting our burdens, it’s just so hard sometimes to see those events from the prism of HOPE when we’re stuck in a life that has yet to be fully completed.
We can easily jump to the conclusion that because the things we want or have prayed for have yet to appear in our lives…(like the disciples after Jesus is killed) that God somehow has shrunk out of sight…that He just doesn’t have a role to play or won’t play in our lives. Nada, Nope, Not True… He’s there for you, behind the scenes, doing far more than we could ever ask or think in fact.
Let’s all make the effort this week to remember the WHOLE story of Easter. Remember the true nature of God and His divine “Providence” of life and truth as we consider the reality of who Jesus Christ is…one more time… only this year lets be sure to do so with Hope that comes from seeing the story within the story…with new eyes 🙂
No matter how difficult, tired or frustrated you may be… Easter is coming and it’s message is eternal and life-giving…a message of Divine Providence for you.
Peace out and Happy Easter from RTP!