Every Sunday, we will be going through one of the fifty-two Lord’s Days of the Heidelberg Catechism. Written in the year 1563, the Heidelberg still remains a popular confession of faith in many churches to this day. You can find the full text here.
Lord’s Day 10
Question 27: What do you understand
by the providence of God?
Answer: The almighty and ever present power of God1
by which God upholds, as with his hand,
heaven and earth and all creatures,2
and so rules them that leaf and blade,
rain and drought,
fruitful and lean years,
food and drink,
health and sickness,
prosperity and poverty—3
all things, in fact, come to us
not by chance4
but by his fatherly hand.5
1. Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 17:24-28
2. Heb. 1:3
3. Jer. 5:24; Acts 14:15-17; John 9:3; Prov. 22:2
4. Prov. 16:33
5. Matt. 10:29
Question 28: How does the knowledge
of God’s creation and providence help us?
Answer: We can be patient when things go against us,1
thankful when things go well,2
and for the future we can have
good confidence in our faithful God and Father
that nothing in creation will separate us from his love.3
For all creatures are so completely in God’s hand
that without his will
they can neither move nor be moved.4
1. Job 1:21-22; James 1:3
2. Deut. 8:10; 1 Thess. 5:18
3. Ps. 55:22; Rom. 5:3-5; 8:38-39
4. Job 1:12; 2:6; Prov. 21:1; Acts 17:24-28
God is faithful to give us what we “need”. But sometimes, what we “need” isn’t what we want. We want rain, we want good years, we want health and prosperity. When we get drought, bad years, sickness, and poverty, we ask God to provide for our “need”. But have you ever stopped to consider that maybe, just maybe, by giving you those things…He is giving you what you need.
Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t pray for healing or a job if we are in need. Pray without ceasing! What I’m saying is, in those times, we should also stop to consider how God is using this for our good. We need to check our hearts to make sure we are not confusing a “need” for a “want”.
Whatever comes our way, we know it has not come to us by mistake. John Piper once said that God is not an ambulance driver. He doesn’t show up after something bad happens and tries to put the pieces back together. He is ever-present. He is ever-shaping and ever-molding us into the image of Christ. For that to happen, sometimes we need sickness. Sometimes we need health. All of it passes through His loving hand and He is working all of it for our good. That is why “we can be patient when things go against us, thankful when things go well, and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father, that nothing in creation will separate us from His love.”
“Providence is wiser than you, and you may be confident it has suited all things better to your eternal good than you could do had you been left to your own option.” John Flavel