All Things from His Fatherly Hand: Help and Hope in This World’s Chaos

In the midst of all the uncertainty and fear surrounding the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, including in our own country (now under a “state of emergency”) and in our little corner of the world and United States here in Michigan (also under a “state of emergency”), pastor/professor Kevin DeYoung’s post today is a welcome word of peace and comfort: “All Things from His Fatherly Hand.”

His perspective? The providence of our almighty God and Father. His source and basis? The Word of God, of course, but as summed and explained by a 456-year-old confession – the Heidelberg Catechism in Lord’s Day 10, Q&A 27,28. Here are those statements:

Q. 27.  What dost thou mean by the providence of God?
A.  The almighty and everywhere present power of God, whereby, as it were by His hand, He upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.

Q. 28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?
A.  That we may be patient in adversity; thankful in prosperity; and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love; since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.

DeYoung’s entire post is worth reading (linked below, so do so), but I quote from the second part of his comments. It certainly gives us as Christians a helpful and hopeful lens through which to see our chaotic world at present.

May we trust and not be afraid. Our Father is Lord, and that Lord is our Father. In perfect wisdom, mercy, and grace He cares for us, and will care for us. As children of this heavenly Father, let us hold onto His hand, for He will never let go of ours.

It’s worth noting that Lord’s Day 10 is explaining what the Apostles’ Creed means when it says, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” If God is the creator of all things and truly almighty, then he must continue to be almighty over all that he has created. And if God is a Father, then surely he exercises his authority over his creation and creatures for the good of his beloved children. Providence is nothing more than a belief in “God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth” brought to bear on our present blessings and troubles and buoying our hope into the future.

You can look at providence through the lens of human autonomy and our idolatrous notions of freedom and see a mean God moving tornadoes and influenza like chess pieces in some kind of perverse divine play-time. Or you can look at providence through the lens of Scripture and see a loving God counting the hairs on our heads and directing the sparrows in the sky so that we might live life unafraid.

“What else can we wish for ourselves,” Calvin wrote, “if not even one hair can fall from our head without his will?” There are no accidents in your life. Nothing has been left to chance. Every economic downturn, every novel virus, every oncology report has been sent to us from the God who sees all things, plans all things, and loves us more than we know.

As children of our heavenly Father, divine providence is always for us and never against us. Joseph’s imprisonment seemed pointless, but it makes sense now. Slavery in Egypt makes sense now. Killing the Messiah makes sense now. At some point in the future—whether near or far—the coronavirus will make sense. Whatever difficulty or unknown we may be facing today, it will make sense someday—if not in this life, then certainly in the next.

We all have moments where we fear the unknown. The fact of the matter is our worries may come true, but God will never be untrue to us. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. God will always lead us, always listen to us, and always love us in Christ.

God moves in mysterious ways; we may not always understand why life is what it is. But we can face the future unafraid because we know that nothing moves, however mysterious, except by the hand of that great Unmoved Mover who moves all and is moved by none, and that this Mover is not an impersonal force but the God who is our Father in heaven.

Source: All Things from His Fatherly Hand