The beginning of a New Year is a time to reflect on God’s kindness and goodness to us, but we are often concerned and fearful about the future. What will happen this year? Will we make it through another trial? Can we survive another hard year?
In the face of an uncertain future, our hope as Christians is rooted in what older generations called “Providence.” Providence is the term we use to explain that God is so sovereign that everything takes place according to his purpose. If you affirm the providence of God, you are confessing, even in the face of all appearances to the contrary, that God cares for you and is in control of your life. One of the important passages describing the providence of God is Romans 8:28, where the Apostle Paul says, “All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose.”
The word providence actually comes from two Latin words: pro, which means before or in front of, and videre, which means to see. The concept of providence is that God not merely looks at human affairs, but he looks after human affairs. Watching after us is the heart of the doctrine of providence.
One of the early examples of Providence occurs in Genesis 22, when God tells Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. As they are going up the mountain, Isaac sees the fire and the wood, but he wonders where the lamb is for the burnt offering. Abraham says, “God will provide himself a sacrifice.” Indeed, God did provide a sacrifice in the place of Isaac, and Abraham called the name of the place, “The Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14), which is where we get the older name Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides.
About two thousand years after God provided a sacrifice for Abraham, He again acted to provide a sacrifice through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The cross is at the center of our hope for the future, and the Apostle Paul explains it this way: “If God did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). If God has given us His Son, He will surely see us through the coming year. You can trust the Providence of God, for He has already provided for your greatest need: He has given you His Son, which is good news indeed.