“The Providence of God”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Anxiety plagues all of us. We would all like to live an anxious and worry-free life. Jesus said that Kingdom life is indeed worry-free! Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is Kingdom Life. It is how Christians are to live now. Kingdom life is impossible apart from the God who provides. Jesus is the only One who lived the Kingdom life perfectly.
The once popular song, “Don’t worry, be happy”, denies reality. It is for those who live for themselves. The song represents a philosophy of life. There are those who would tell us that reality can be created. They suggest that worry can be overcome by thinking happy thoughts, whatever that means. After we awake from our “happy” dreams, life with all its cares and worries is still there.
How then can God’s book, the Bible, that is without error and always reliable command believers, “Do not be anxious about your life”, Mt. 6:25?
Yet, God commands His people not to worry. This is not a denial of reality but an embrace of it. Specifically, God has revealed Himself as the One who always provides for His people. The reality that must be embraced is the truth of God!
Abraham, the father of all who believe in the God of the Bible, declared the truth of the providence of God, see Genesis 22:8, 14. The psalmist wrote, God “provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever,” Psalm 111:5. The Apostle Paul commanded the church in Philippi, “do not be anxious about anything,” Philippians 4:6.
What did Abraham, the psalmist and Paul know? It is clear as we read about their lives and what they wrote they were not ones who denied reality and simply thought happy thoughts. Abraham, for example, was in the process of obeying God by preparing to sacrifice his son, Isaac when he confessed trust in God to provide. Abraham embraced reality and he trusted God. He knew as Paul did that God would never be unfaithful for to do so would be to deny Himself! 2Timothy 2:13
The popular song quoted above was written by Bobby McFerin and was the number one song in 1988. It presents an apparently innocent and harmless suggestion. But on closer examination, we learn that Bobby McFerin didn’t originate the phrase. It was promoted by an Indian mystic, Meher Baba. Meher Baba considered himself to be the Ancient One and god. He believed that he was the real self within everyone. His view of himself was revealed by one of his recorded statements, “I have come not to teach but to awaken.”
Life in Christ is in direct opposition to that guru’s philosophy. God has not only revealed Himself but He has revealed propositional truth. We don’t need some self-proclaimed guru to find the meaning of life. The source of worry is not our lack of “happy thoughts” or not embracing the god within us. The source of worry is unbelief in God, the true God. The God who provides is the one who created all that we see. He is the one who ordains all that comes to pass. He is transcendent, not part of Creation. The Bible says, in Jesus Christ “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” Colossians 1:20 and in Him we can have intimacy with God.
Bobby McFerin’s song concerns happiness. As we all know, happiness is very elusive. In the midst of anxiety and worry it’s nearly impossible to find happiness. The impossible becomes possible with God. The Apostle Paul gave advice to Timothy concerning the source of true joy which exceeds happiness. “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy,” 1Timothy 6:17.
Notice the connection between the providence of God and enjoyment. God provides and believers enjoy what He gives. You don’t need to search out some new age philosopher which really is old age, eastern mysticism. Only knowing the truth of God will bring joy, the joy that lasts forever. The God who provides is the only One who gives joy. He gives joy by revealing the truth of Jesus to your heart. Knowing Jesus is the only thing that will dispel the worry and anxiety with which we burden ourselves. So, glorify God and enjoy Him forever!