The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, By Our Crosses We Are Saved. Please enjoy and look for the upcoming release of the book in 2021!
God is all powerful and ever caring. We can trust in God and His providence even more than we trust that gravity will hold us on Earth. This means all things are possible by Him and He is always concerned with everything going on in our lives. Having a friend capable of all things is comforting and a reason to find peace over succumbing to anxiety.
When I was younger, I was terrified of flying. Even so, I was fortunate enough to fly often; at least one trip a summer. A few times, starting at about age 10, I would even fly alone when my parents sent me to visit family in Minnesota. It was usually takeoff and landing that caused me the worst anxiety. In the mid-90s, I had not known of very many plane crashes, however, the lack of trust I had in the process of flying made me worry.
Eventually I learned to overcome my anxiety by imagining the plane was hooked up to a cable attached to something like a ride at Disney World. I did not need to fear because the cable would not let the plane fall. This thought process helped me believe everything was fine.
Yes, it was a lie. But it worked. Now I can fly without imagining anything because I learned to trust the process of flying. Something similar can be said of God’s Providence, which is the constant caring guidance and direction that God provides. However, in this case, God’s Providence is very real.
Evidence of Providence Surrounds Us
We see the truth of Divine Providence stemming from creation. In the beginning, God created the world, yet it was in a state still incomplete because there was still hunger, thirst, need, and growth yet to be realized. Providence is the work of God to bring forth this completion as He feeds, provides drink, and brings about growth to His creatures. We see this most beautifully in the lesser creatures around us: birds building their nests, lions hunting their prey, and the spider building its intricate web, all acting merely on instinct and without higher reason, manifest God’s provision for what He has made.
From the moment it is planted in the ground, a seed has everything it needs to grow into a magnificent tree. All that it is missing is water, sunlight, and time. Once given these things, development occurs bringing about the tremendous mystery of life.
How does this happen? How does a tiny pebble-like object, that seems dead, open to create a wooden trunk and branches, an intricate vascular system of nutrition and water, along with leaves, and sometimes fruit, to even produce more seeds and reproduce. This would be a mystical experience if it was not so frequent.
A similar process occurs for humans when the egg is fertilized, a human develops seemingly out of thin air. In reality, the zygote is very small, yet seeing how large humans become, it is tremendous to reflect upon the ratio of growth happening. Once again, everything humans need to become a full-grown adult is present at the planting of the seed. Once again, all that is needed for development is nourishment, growth, and time.
Every bone, hair, tooth, system of organs, veins, the epidermis, the ever-pounding heart, and our complex brain, all develop over time from something you can’t see with the naked eye. Our souls are always present beginning at conception.
Sure, there are anomalies in nature, however, even those point to the always-present care of God. The minuscule chance that anything living on this planet has at being alive is so slight that we really should be in awe of it more. The fact that Earth is just close enough to the sun, and yet not too close, the oxygen level is perfect. All the food groups humans and other animals need to live healthy lives can be produced from what is living on the earth is amazing. To me, it is living proof that we have a creator lovingly taking care of us.
This loving care has further extended throughout human history on a grander scale. Yes, there have been wars, natural disasters, and terrible plights of illness, however, God has brought good out of these events no matter how devastating they have been. While death is always sad and never should be the desired outcome, viewing the sorrowful process of grieving as a cross that can lead us to Salvation can help.
In every war, we have fantastic stories of heroism and sacrifice. After natural disasters we hear of the love of strangers looking out for others. With illnesses, we can see the great intelligence of humanity as scientists work and discover new medical treatments. We can say there has never been an evil that has occurred in history that some good has not come out of.
Like we saw earlier, even death has its good fruits, especially if the soul of the one who dies passes onto eternal glory. Furthermore, while the loss of loved ones is devastating, we remember that even those left behind can grow in holiness in other ways as well.
For instance, one can merit grace for oneself or others from loss by offering up the pain. Additionally, there is tremendous beauty in the sharing in of sorrow with others. Two or more persons can deepen and grow their relationship to another level through providing support and aid to one another amid the most difficult moments.
Another benefit of death is that it is a constant reminder of our mortality. We are continually reminded by death that we are not gods, and therefore need God to live a truly prosperous life. Candidly, it is a guard against pride and an invitation to continuously trust in God.
In addition to observing God’s Providence unraveling in real time around us, we also have the scriptures to illuminate us with the reality that God always brings good out of our mistakes. With Adam and Eve, God lays down the limitations as His Divine punishment, however, right after in Genesis 3:15, He shows them the good that will come from this mess; the One who will crush the head of the serpent.
God is essentially promising that He will care for humanity, the offspring of Adam and Eve, and deliver them from the consequences of original sin, especially suffering. We can see God is promising providence to our first parents. We see throughout scripture how God is faithful to this promise.
To know that we will get to where we want to go if we continue to repent from our sins and seek God, regardless of our fallen nature, character defects, and mistakes, is very comforting.
An old college professor of mine put it best when he said “God writes straight with our crooked lines”. All of history showcases this. If we pinpoint specific times and events, we might get caught up in the evil and destruction man has brought about.
However, looking at the bigger picture allows us to see the good things God brings about through man’s failures and errors. In the last chapter, we will take a closer look at this perspective in which we take a broader look. First, we must decide whether we should even help others when they experience evils or leave them alone as we remember that God will bring good out of their suffering through Divine Providence.