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Online Articles

Chance or Providence?

There are some things we clearly know from Scriptures because God has chosen to reveal them to us. We know exactly what God would have us to do to be saved because He has clearly told us through His word. We know that God hates divorce, a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood and many other sins that we might commit against each other (Malachi 2:16; Proverbs 6:16-19).

But when it comes to knowing how God interacts in our every day life, we cannot be as sure. Things happen in our lives and in the lives of others that cause us to wonder, is this God's providence or just something that is happening by chance? The wise man made this observation in Ecclesiastes 9:11-12, "I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them."

God not only has spiritual laws through Christ which are always true but He also has natural laws which are always true. Heat will burn you, electricity can kill you and gravity will bring you back to earth. Often a person's interaction with these laws brings about serious harm or even death. Sometimes this occurs because of our own actions and we suffer the consequences. But at other times we suffer the consequences of the decisions of others who violate God's laws of nature.

But herein lays our uncertainty. Are there times when God's providence enables us to avoid situations that could have terrible consequences? Yet when tragic things happen we can't help but second guess our own actions and maybe even ask God, "why?" The wise man, by inspiration said "For man also does not know his time:"(Ecclesiastes 9:12). To these questions we simply do not have the answers to the "why".

Let us not forget some other great truths that we know about our great God. Hear Peter's words in 1 Peter 3:12, "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." The conclusion is this: it doesn't really matter whether things happen by chance or through God's providence. You see, our God is able to help us through anything this life can bring our way. "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you…"(2 Cor. 9:8). Paul reminds us in Romans 8:28 that "…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

While we aren't given to know all the "why's" we can be assured that God works in the lives of His children. He will not allow more to be demanded of us than we can endure. Not even "chance" will be allowed to do so. God's providence and promises will see to that. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Cor. 10:13).