Do you see the hand of God?

Do you see His hand?  I don’t mean a visible hand, but do you see the work of Providence in your life?  Do you recognize, at least in hindsight, when God was at work, orchestrating certain circumstances and events for your good?

Pause for a moment and ponder: think about a major event in your life that brought you great joy or great blessing.

If you are married, think about how you met your spouse.  Did you grow up next to each other since you were 5?  Or maybe you met “by chance” in a coffee shop.  Or were coworkers?  Did friends introduce you?  Whatever the situation that led to your meeting one another, do you recognize that as God’s hand of Providence?  Do you acknowledge that He orchestrated that meeting?  But not just that meeting, also the events leading up to that meeting

You happened to live next to each other because his dad happened to get transferred from another city and happened to purchase a house right next to your parents who happened to purchase their house because at the time that they were looking, it happened to be for sale, in the school district they wanted and in their price range and the style your mom wanted.

If you met by “chance” in a coffee shop or a restaurant or bookstore, or wherever, you both just happened to be at the same place at the same time in a season of life that you were both single.

Maybe friends introduced you: what were the events leading up to you meeting that friend?  All the same happenstances that led to you making that friend are part of God’s Providence. He was working out so many details in such a way as to bring a blessing into your life.  He worked all of those things for your good, and for His ultimate glory.

Do you acknowledge it as so? Do you thank Him for all of the details that lead to the present circumstances of your life?

What about a hard thing in life.  Your best friend moving away when you needed her most as you entered high school.  Or Mom dying of cancer. Or a spouse forsaking his covenant with you and abandoning the family.

All unwanted circumstances. Hardly seen as blessings, but are they any less the work of God’s Providence?

First you had to make that friend, or be born to that mother, or marry that man.  Yes, God ordained the circumstances that would lead up to the hardship.  He has a part in every last detail. Then there is the happenstances that brought about the unwanted circumstances.

Friends dad gets relocated.

Mom was in perfect health, until she wasn’t.

Marriage seemed fine until bombshell dropped. OR marriage was never fine, but you did your best to hold it together – yet your best just couldn’t keep him from forsaking the Lord.

Here is a harder question now:

Do you thank God for THOSE circumstances?

Can you find the good amidst the heartache? Can you find joy despite circumstances? Can you acknowledge God’s blessings in the valley.

In 2011 my husband walked out, leaving me with a 5-year old, 4-year old, 2-year old and 4-month old.

8 months later the children and I were evicted from our apartment because we couldn’t pay rent. We were homeless.

Yet in the midst of that we saw God’s hand of care through a family at church who allowed us to stay with them for 8 weeks. (Providence: we happened to be at that church, that family happened to be at that church, they happened to have an upstairs with bedrooms, allowing some privacy for both of us, the list goes on and on)

At the end of 8 weeks we still had nowhere to live: on the eve of going into a homeless shelter while we sought an apartment somewhere that we could afford, my mom suggested we drive down to Florida from New York and stay there, despite it only being a 2br condo and despite her caring for my Alzheimer’s father. In the car we went and 23 hours later we were beachside, spending time with my sick father, who my children did not know very well due to distance.

Being so far south anyway, I took the opportunity to visit some old friends in Mississippi who I hadn’t seen since moving to New York 5 years earlier. They prayed for me and with me. They encouraged my soul in the Lord and when I headed back north it was with even greater confidence in God.

So instead of 6 weeks in a homeless shelter, we had a 6 week road trip and returned to New York to rent the 1 bedroom apartment attached to my mother’s house, where my Nana used to live next-door to us, because the renters just happened to move out finally making it available.

The 5 of us lived in a 1br apartment that I was familiar with, in the neighborhood I grew up in. (God’s immense kindness to us).

Providentially, within weeks the renters in the main house of my mother’s home moved out and we were now living in my childhood home – with three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a basement and plenty of room to spare.

Some months later my then 4 year old son says, “I want to visit Nana.”  During our next phone conversation I mentioned this to my mom and she said “come on down, I’ll pay for the gas.”  So we hopped in the car and drove down.

By now my dad was in hospice care at the hospital, unable to speak.  My children each got to see their Pop, and I got to visit with him — we didn’t know it at the time, but it would the be the very last time.  The day before we were scheduled to head home Dad died.

At the same time my older brother, who lives in Southern California, happened to be in Baltimore, MD coaching in a lacrosse tournament.  Instead of flying home, he flew south to Florida.  2 of the 3 children were able to be there for my mom the very same day and were able to plan the entire memorial service, giving her opportunity to simple grieve.

Do you follow this line of happenstance? All of these random occurrence that orchestrated that my children and I be there the day my dad died, 1300 miles from home?

My son was thinking of his Nana because
We happened to be staying at my mom’s house, because
the renters happened to move out when they did, which
was the exact right timing, after we couldn’t find something earlier that we could afford, after
we had been evicted, all of which started when
my husband walked out.

That one act was the start of a course that led to my being in Florida at just the right time to see my dad one last time.  A few days sooner or a fews later would

None of that would have happened if my husband didn’t leave.

And even in that, there are so many tiny details that fit together to orchestrate that outcome.

Did I want my husband to leave?  No.

But in God’s orchestration of life, he did leave, and in that leaving the Lord had plans for something bigger and grander. The Lord has plans for closure for my with my dad.  The Lord had plans for family camaraderie during a difficult time.  His hand of Providence was very much in each and every detail of the hard stuff. And I thank Him for each part, because I recognize the cause-effect of what He does and ultimately, I trust Him!

I have no desire to re-live any of those years between separation and divorce, but I thank the Lord for each moment of it because He has used it in innumerable ways for my GOOD and my JOY.

I choose to see the hand of God in every detail of life: as a result, I can stand firm despite outside circumstances because even through storms I am standing on a ROCKChrist Himself.

How about you?  What are you standing on?  Do you choose to see Providence? Or do you see random chaos? Do you have peace amidst trials and troubles? Or do they through your whole world into despair?

 

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