There is a natural seed of atheism in every heart. This seed exists even in the believer’s heart. Even in your heart. The seed is nourished in times of difficulty when you pass rash and false judgment upon the circumstances in your life. When you see the wicked prosper and the godly crushed it may tempt you to think that there is no purpose to your faith and that all of this pursuit of holiness and godliness is a waste of time and effort.
In his work The Mystery of Providence, John Flavel tells of the importance of pondering the many acts of providence that have demonstrated the being, wisdom, power, love, and faithfulness of God. As you ponder them you will see that he has delivered you from danger, fear, and difficulty. If you look, you will see that God shows himself to spiritual eyes in his providences just as clearly as the sun shows itself by its beams of light.
In those times you find yourself in despair over your circumstances, Flavel gives you 5 things to ponder:
Haven’t you seen the hand of God in the provision he has made for you all throughout your life? Hasn’t God supplied what you needed in your times of trouble? Just consider the consistency of God’s provision and even the way he has, at times, given them through extraordinary means. Consider it and be encouraged.
Haven’t you seen God preserve you through so many dangers? Think how many times you have outlived dangers, sicknesses, accidents, and other potential tragedies. See the hand of God behind every single one of them and believe in his goodness.
Haven’t you discerned the hand of God in the many answers to your prayers? Think of the many times that God has seen fit to answer your prayers in clear and specific ways. Think of how many others you know who have prayed and received what they requested. This is the mercy of God and it is meant to encourage you.
Haven’t you seen God’s hand in guiding and directing your paths in ways you could never have planned? At so many times God has blessed you far beyond all you had imagined as he led you to places you would never have planned to go. See all of this as God’s mercy and see this as evidence of God’s love for you.
Haven’t you seen God graciously deliver you from sins and temptations? Hasn’t he graciously delivered you from so many of life’s difficulties? Hasn’t he done this time after time throughout your life? If you look, you will see God’s deliverances as clearly as you can see the noon-day sun. Be encouraged!
We will continue our reading next week with chapter 11 & 12 and just finish up the book. Read it by next Thursday and check in to see what I (and others) have to say about it. And then we will be done!
The purpose of this project is to read classics together. So do feel free to leave a comment if you have something you would like to say. Alternatively, you may leave a link to your blog or Facebook or anywhere else you have reflected on what you have read.