Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The God of Providence

There are biblical truths that I know intellectually but still have to experience now and again to make them “feel real”. The most current one that I am experiencing is that our God is a God of providence and just because you are experiencing negative life/professional experiences does not mean he has removed himself from you but rather he is more active in your life than ever before.

I have had a very professionally trying two years. Nothing went right, everything that could go wrong did go wrong and every opportunity that came up was brutally stripped away from me. I took and long hard look at myself, fixed a few things but still nothing seemed to improve. I recommitted myself to prayer and the Bible but still found myself in the same morass. I knew that everything is according to Gods plan and that he is a God of providence but my trial seemed arbitrary and pointless and I soon found myself fighting a victimed mindset.

However the single coolest opportunity has occurred at work that is greater than all of the things I was prevented to become and would be well worth the pain of the last two years. I have been given this opportunity and I will discuss it when it is totally locked in, right now it is 99% sure it will be mine.

The amazing thing is that if any one of the negative experiences that I went through turned out positive I would not have been able to take this position. I have always wondered how Paul found such great Joy in his pain and suffering but now, and again, I see that in the low and troubled times great things are brewing if you just trust in the Lord. This is a principle I once again “feel” and know.

Hebrews 11

By Faith

1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.
3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned."[c] 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

23By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea[d] as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.

31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[e]

32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.


Shark Girl said...

How do you know He has not removed Himself?

How do you know you weren't being punished, or that maybe you "missed God's will" or something like that?

How do you know He's more active than ever before when He suddenly stops helping you?

I've been in a battle, way beyond my comprehension or skills, for the past six years, yet, God taught me things I never thought possible. Then, when I thought I was going to have victory, everything was wiped out from underneath me. I don't see how this glorifies Him while my enemies rejoice.

Seriously, I wonder how people know God's will when He doesn't speak audibly. It seems like we have to play a guessing game and hope we figure it out.

Now, I'm guessing what He wants me to do next, because quite frankly, I'm stunned that after six years, I lose and corruption wins. What glory does God get in that?

Shark Girl said...

Do you trust God with all your heart, even though you don't know how He's going to get you through something?

Badge at the feet of Christ said...

Sorry to get back to you so late, but I had a call out Friday that went all night...etc...Etc...

I have struggled with this area and one of the things that helped me was to look at the lives of the seminal figures of the Bible.

Abraham (Abram)

Was forced to leave his family (father/brothers/except for Lot) take his barren wife and go to a land that was foreign to him. Famine hits, flees to Egypt passes his wife off as his sister and only with God’s interdiction does she not become sexually involved with the Pharos. Saves Lot by butchering his hostage takers and gets inpatient waiting for Sara to become with child so he impregnates Hagar. Sara gets pregnant. He splits with Lot, God sees if he is willing to sacrifice his son, gets the land his is promised, is tormented with the children he has with Hagar and dies.


Is spared from the order of the Pharos to kill all first born male children when mother abandons him and he is taken into the Pharos household. Grows up kills slave master who is whipping the Hebrew slaves, returns the next day and the very Hebrews that he aided turn on him, he flees into the desert. Sees burning bush told to see the Pharos and he tells God that he can not because he stutters etc. Is forced to go to the Pharos and is not successful till the firstborn of Egypt’s sons are killed. Flees into the desert, parts the red sea, speaks with God gets the 10 commandants while his own people have abandoned him and turned from God. Hits a rock, watches time and time again while his people fall away and are punished by God, is denied entrance into the Promised Land and dies.


Pops up tells King Ahab of God’s coming judgment because of Ahab’s wife Jezebel, among other things and is forced to flee for his life. Fed meat by Ravens, drinks out of a brook and complains. Is saved by a widow, Comes back challenges the Baal priests, wins, has them killed and is forced to flee the wrath of Jezebel. Fights with her son Ahaziah and gets taken into the air on a whirlwind. Comes back to speak to Jesus and disappears.

John the Baptist

Son from an elderly and barren mother. Forced to flee into the desert, wear hair shirt, not cut hair and eat honey and locusts. Starts his ministry as a precursor to the coming of the Lord. Meets and acknowledges Jesus as the Christ. Gets thrown in prison all the time and finally get his head cut off for his troubles.

Paul (Saul)

Held the cloaks of the citizens stoning Steven. Had arrest warrants and pulled Christians out of their homes to be imprisoned and killed. Struck down by God on the road to Damascus, blinded and sent to the very people he tried to kill and who hated him. Converted and sent the rest of his life telling the good news of Jesus the Christ, being thrown into prison, traveling incessantly, finding his way to Rome to die.

What you see is a pattern that consists of three things: First they are all sent into situations by God that not only do they not understand why are doing these things but further they do not want to go and in most cases involves great personal risk. Second, they suffer for doing the acts that God commanded them to do and it should be noted it is great suffering. Lastly all sinned and fell from Gods plan, but all stopped, repented were punished and then finished by standing in the place that God originally commanded them to be in.

As I see it, we are made to suffer. When life is the darkest it is because of one of two things: we are in Gods plan or we have fled from Gods edicts. But the main factor is that we suffer. I have been plagued by the incorrect idea that the lack of pain in my life is a sign that I am on the right path of God. When reality that very well may be the sign that I am not doing what I am supposed to do.

God is always there. Job suffered by doing exactly what God wanted him to do. When we suffer because of the evil we have done God is there waiting for us to repent. But repenting does not mean an end to suffering but rather it comes two fold; correction for what we have done and suffering for carrying the cross of Christ.

Look at Jesus, sinless and yet he suffered horrible torture and death in order to save us from Hell. He was perfectly in God’s will and yet he was hated, mocked and killed. Why should our lives be anything different?

You ask: Do you trust God with all your heart, even though you don't know how He's going to get you through something?

I answer: Yes because I already know the ending. I will be with Christ in Heaven and his enemies will be cast into the pit. The rest is just trying to endure and focus on keeping the next step on the straight and narrow path.

It’s like dumper cars. You want to get from one side of the track to the other while everyone else is trying to dump you out of the way. Sometimes they succeed; sometimes I make an error in steering but as long as I keep my goal the finish line I will eventually get there. But if I focus on every hit or every mistake and spin around trying to find the meaning behind their strike on my car or seek justice with each driver, I soon loose sight of the end and run out of time.

Suffering for Christ is glorious. You justice will come, it was promised. God is always there and our singular reward is also the greatest reward. Heaven.

One of my favorite verses: Acts 5: 41-42
41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

Shark Girl said...

This isn't the kind of answer I was hoping for. Not the suffering, and yet, I know you're right.

I can either accept the Bible as truth, or reject it. I don't reject it, which leaves me knowing what you say is right. I just wish I knew what He was doing. Now that I see how you've summarized how the others didn't know what He was doing either, it makes it more in perspective. I'm not the one in control.

That's so hard to accept. I would rather have a very detailed plan from God that laid out the entire path. But, I'm willing to trust Him without any details.