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Relying On Providence

“Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, ‘Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?’ ” Mark 14:12

We’re all dependent upon providence. If the truth were to be revealed we’re almost certainly far more dependent upon providence than we’re even aware.

The Holy Spirit influences and directs the actions and decisions of men through his own quiet and gentle presence. Most of the time we’re completely unaware that any guiding has even taken place but his presence was an essential factor, a deciding factor, in the final decisions that were made. God only knows what might have been decided had the Holy Spirit’s influence not been felt but given the capacity of man’s sinful nature for callous, thoughtless, and even brutal behavior one could easily imagine conditions getting very bad. Yet, for the most part, at least in the region of the world I live in, the worst excesses of man’s sinfulness, at least in public, are kept under control.

The interesting thing about this realization of our dependence on providence is the attending realization that, notwithstanding our dependence, we rarely actually make any effort to be intentionally guided by it.

It’s true, many of us, before making big decisions, before traveling, or in times of difficulty, reach out to God through prayer and ask for his direction but let’s be honest these prayers are more our asking God to salt our best efforts with his blessing, rather than an actual reaching out to God, asking that he reveal what he’s doing and then to direct us so that we can best cooperate with him.

The verses following our focus text reveal just how prepared God is to direct the paths of our lives. The disciples wanted to know where to prepare the Passover and Jesus revealed that God was ready to lead them to just the right place.

I don’t think God wants to take over to the extent that our intelligence and creative capacities go unused but I do think that if we, in our reliance upon God, more humbly and intentionally, combined our small capacities with his unlimited ones we would find it much easier to cooperate with what God is already doing.

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