Friday, June 11, 2010

The Hand of Providence

This is another one of those posts that I've been composing in my head for a very long time. The neat thing is that God just keeps confirming my thoughts over and over again! During the last four to six months, the words hands of providence keep coming to my mind. Through circumstances and trials, I have continually thought of those words. I finally looked up the word and found a definition that blew me away. It said, "a manifestation of God's foresightful care for his creatures." When I read that, I couldn't believe how that completely justified and confirmed all that I'd been relating to those words hands of providence.

This past Tuesday our church had our first Vacation Bible School workday of the summer. I usually co-direct VBS and teach a Missions class, but this year, God has provided lots of workers and I'm not teaching the Missions class. A precious lady named Ms. Linda is teaching it for us, and I had the great privilege of talking with her on Tuesday. We found out that we have many common interests--teaching, writing, and Texas history just to name a few. She commented that we were kindred spirits!

But then the conversation turned to things more spiritual. We talked about how God has worked in our lives in providential ways. Ms. Linda and I both made a decision to follow Jesus at the ripe old age of 9, but we agreed that we didn't fully understand the working of God in our lives until we were much older. Ms. Linda shared that it was after losing her father, her husband, and being diagnosed with cancer that she saw how God was preparing things ahead of time for her well-fare.

At the time she was diagnosed, she had no medical insurance and was six months away from being able to qualify for Medicare. When she was told she'd need surgery and possibly radiation or chemotherapy, she expressed her concern with a medical professional. This person explained to her that the state legislature had just passed a law granting aid to women diagnosed with her type of cancer who had no medical insurance. Of course, as we all know, the bill that was passed had not just happened. It had been in the works for many, many months, possibly even years. Every last penny of her medical treatment was covered through this program! She commented that of course it had not been done just for her, but I was quick to remind her that it was! We marveled at the providential care and concern of our Lord. I compared His working in our lives to a thread, weaving its way through our lives before we even know we are in need.

Over the past months, God has been showing me where that thread has been in my life. Our journeys through infertility and the adoption of our beautiful little girls are such testimonies to the workings of God. He knew before Bryan and I even desired to start a family that we would be faced with the heart-wrenching tour through the land of barrenness. He also knew which children would be ours. He knew that their birthmoms would face the difficult decisions of placing them with us. Those decisions were a part of the tapestry of our lives being woven by the hand of providence.

God has also shown me that because of His providential care, I don't have to worry about the future! I was told last December that the teaching position I have held for the past four years was being eliminated for the 2010-2011 school year. The elementary portion of First Baptist Academy was closing. Depending on who you asked and when you asked, the reasons were varied and often vague. It became impossible to know who to trust and whose motives to question. I went through a period of shock and confusion. I was angry that the decisions of seemingly one or two people could cause such drastic change for my family and the families of the academy. I was bitter, and I was deeply saddened by the loss I knew I would feel and the loss that those around me were feeling.

And then I was worried and anxious and filled with questions. Where would I work? How would our family make it financially? Did the Lord want me to stay at home? Did He want me to return to public school or did He want me to continue to work at a private Christian school? What about the education of our girls? On Memorial Day, with the help of my dad and husband, I moved all of my things home from my classroom and each time I have walked into the garage the boxes have glared at me, reminding me that I don't know what the future holds for them or me!

But that thread has never stopped moving. God continues to weave that tapestry of my life, and He has provided for my family and me. I have gotten a job starting in the Fall, and I'll share where and how it came to be when all of the details are confirmed. I'm excited about where the hand of providence will guide me.

Providence, providence
See it laying down the cornerstone
The hand of providence, it's evident
For we could never make it on our own

Apportioning the power
Weighing all that it entails
Giving us the fulcrum
And a balance to the scales

Providence, ever since
Any thesis ever entered man
The hand of providence
Has been our best defense
Tho' his ways are sometimes hard to understand

From the dying of a hearbeat
To another soul reborn
From in between and circling
Our thoughts of love and war

Oh, the hand of providence
Is guiding us through choices that we make
Oh, the hand of providence
Is reaching out to help us on our way

Written by Michael W. Smith