“PROVIDENCE OR COINCIDENCE”
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)
Do you ever wonder why certain things happen (or don’t happen) in your life, especially when you have no explanation as to the outcome? I have lived a good number of years on this earth and have found myself asking God for answers for certain things that have happened in my life, the lives of some of my family members and even things that happen in the ministry that has been entrusted to me.
Starting this church some forty years ago, one could not help but see the hand and help of the LORD as this church began forming in its infancy. Miraculous things occurred, from our very first meeting place to buildings we were able to purchase and eventually add to the land and buildings we have this day. Some would suggest, and even argue, that these things were by mere coincidence—that we were just at the right place at the right time. Now, that part is right, we were at the right place at the right time, but who put us in that place? It was God who was working behind the scenes and caused things to happen for His glory. Very few people know the real story of the contacts, conversations and concessions we had to deal with that would bring this ministry together. It was the providence of God that placed this church and ministry here so that thousands of souls would hear the gospel and ultimately receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Was it coincidental these people were saved at a certain place at a certain time? What if this church had not been here? Salvation, folks, is the work of God, in His Providential care and provision.
We know the story of Joseph and his brothers very well. We read how Joseph’s brothers so despised him that they just wanted to be rid of him. Joseph was handled roughly by his brothers—thrown into a pit and sold to some slave merchants who sold him to a high-ranking Egyptian soldier who made him the overseer (financial advisor) of all his holdings. Again, Joseph suffered ill treatment by Potiphar’s wife when she accused him of trying to rape her. Once again, Joseph faced isolation in a different kind of prison, but he won the confidence of the guards and befriended some important prisoners of whom, much later, one would single Joseph out as an extraordinarily gifted, spiritual man. Finally Joseph was brought before Pharaoh, who was so impressed with the character and sincerity of Joseph that he made him the “Prime Minister’ of all the land of Egypt. Egypt’s power and wealth grew to new heights under Joseph’s leadership.
All the things that happened to Joseph were within the sphere of God’s providence, as even Joseph himself admitted when his brothers came from the land of Canaan and had to deal with the brother they had not seen, whom they thought to be dead, more than twenty years in passing. When confronted by his brothers for the third time, as they came to purchase food, Joseph was unable to refrain from exposing his true identity to them as he explained God’s providence in the steps He had ordered for Joseph these past thirty plus years by exclaiming, “...God did send me before you to preserve life.” And again, as he said, “...it was not you that sent me hither, but God…” (Genesis 45:5,7,8).
Folks, we may not always understand the providence and workings of God for a long while, but we can be sure that God already has a predetermined plan for each of us. God is ultimately to be glorified in the steps He has ordered for us….Are we sensitive to what God is doing?Pastor H. Preston Parker