“Providence” is a word we use frequently in talking about God, but we may not have thought deeply about what it means. Theologian Timothy George defines it as “God’s faithful and effective care and guidance of everything which He has made toward the end which He has chosen.”
In quadriplegic’s Joni Eareckson Tada’s book Pain and Providence, she writes about God’s providence in Joseph’s life:
“I draw a lot of inspiration from the story of Joseph. There were plenty of unfortunate mishaps in Joseph’s life, like being tossed by his envious brothers into a pit and left to die. But later on, after more mishaps, Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:20-21).
I like that word, intended. He is a God of intention—He has a purpose, a target, a goal, and a plan. Joseph’s problems did not catch God off guard. From the beginning, God calculated for Joseph to experience all these things. Why? For the salvation of others.
God is not a sweep-up boy who follows you with a dustpan and brush, second-guessing how everything will fit into a divine pattern for good. God’s hands stay on the wheel of your life from start to finish so that everything follows His intention for your life. This means your trials have more meaning—much more—than you realize.
Consider this: If Joseph had not been sold to those caravan traders by his wicked brothers, he would not have ended up as the right-hand man to Pharaoh. And if Joseph had not become Pharaoh’s right-hand man, no one would have built giant grain silos to ward off the famine. And if the famine hadn’t happened, Jacob and his family would never have come to Egypt for food and safety. And if Jacob’s family weren’t in Egypt, there would have been no slave laborers. And if no slaves, no Exodus, no Israel and no giving of the law to Moses. And no Promised Land. And, finally, no line of Judah from which the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come.
What an amazing example of the providence of God! It is enthralling to see how the troubles of one young man named Joseph could kick-start a whole chain of earth-shaking events which would ultimately lead to our salvation.
Joseph’s story could be yours. Only heaven will reveal the incredibly complex intertwining of events in which you have played a pivotal role. Like Joseph, you may not be able to discern it at the time, but God has it all in hand. He has it all in control. And you, dear friend, are needed in His marvelous plan to spread His kingdom in your corner of the world.”
God is in control of history and in His Word, the Bible, He has told us the entire story of this world from the start, a perfect world to its firey end. We know that we are living in the time before Jesus prophesied second coming to earth, first to raise the dead Saints and to rapture the living Saints and pour out His wrath on unrepentant earth, and second to return to earth one year and ten days later for the battle of Armageddon and set up His Millennial Kingdom.
“They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4-6