Dear Church Family,
It certainly is, and here we are marking an unprecedented event in the life of our church. The last time I was with you in the church was now 89 days ago and counting. Tomorrow it will be ¼ of a year.
The hindrances of sustained separation are beginning to show up and we are praying every day that the governor will receive our appeal favorably. Some of you have been able to gather in small groups and that is wonderful. We may also attempt a drive-in gathering at the church soon, although it will probably not be a worship service. We will have more info on that for you soon.
Providence is ruled by the will of God and not the wishes or the expectations of men or women. It is obvious that God, as He is presented to you in His Word, rules over His creation providentially. His very nature makes it clear that He can rule if He pleases, because he has the wisdom and power to do all His holy will. We also believe that it is His will to rule His creation providentially.
His wisdom alone, as the theologian R. L. Dabney points out, would indicate that He would not create a universe such as we inhabit without a purpose. And if he has a purpose, then He will obviously employ all His attributes in the accomplishment of that purpose, whether it is His omnipotence, His omniscience or His omnipresence.
Further, His goodness makes it unreasonable to believe that He would abandon this purposeful creation to uncontrolled chaos. And His righteousness, which is involved in His relationship with all His moral creatures, prevents us believing that He would create and then forsake men and women to the tyranny of mere chance.
Everything we know of God from His Word opposes the idea that He is disengaged with His creation, and supports the truth that He rules over it providentially.
If this is not true, then the words of Psalm 91, a favorite of many Christians, are rendered meaningless. Here is a reminder of just some of what this Psalm promises in the name of God…
Psalms 91:1-3 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.
While we were away in March, one of our traveling companions had an accident. He was swimming and tried to body surf into shore. The beach was not conducive to what he was attempting, and rather than riding a wave into the shallow water, the sea tossed him about and drove him face first into the sand, which rose steeply, like a wall, just a few yards from the shore.
He managed to get himself free of the grip of the churning waters, but his nose was bloodied, his back was strained, and his neck was jammed. He expected a controlled ride into the shallows but found himself instead at the mercy of the sea.
It may seem, especially after 89 days, that we are at the mercy of health officials and various political and social powers, all washing around us and tossing us in directions we don’t necessarily want to go; but the truth is, in the end, we are in the hands of our God, who by His gracious providence is ruling over all.
Psalms 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.
We can’t claim to know the reason why things are the way they are, nor can we use providence as an excuse for not acting responsibly on our own part when it comes to doing the right thing. Providence is used by God to create the opportunity to do the right thing, not to excuse obedience or to permit disobedience.
However, things are never out of His control. The Sovereign, Almighty, Wise and Holy God has it all within His grip, so that in the end all things serve Him and His great, divine purpose.
MIGHTY God! while angels bless thee,
May a mortal lisp thy name? Lord of men, as well as angels,
Thou art every creature’s theme:
Lord of every land and nation,
Ancient of eternal days!
Sounded through the wide creation
Be thy just and awful praise.
For the grandeur of thy nature
Grand beyond a seraph’s thought;
For the wonders of creation,
Works with skill and kindness wrought;
For thy providence, that governs
Through thine empire’s wide domain,
Wings an angel, guides a sparrow;
Blessed be thy gentle reign!