Part of believing in the basic notion of a supernatural being who made the world and governs its operations is that it removes a lot of the tendency to see “coincidences” as random. Instead, the idea of Providence, that God watches over his people and provides what they need, becomes the prism through which we understand the world.
To be sure, this also creates, for many, the problem of evil – the idea that the co-existence of an all-powerful and benevolent God and evil events and actions is hard to reconcile – which comes into sharper focus when you start talking in providential terms. There are many cogent ways to deal with the problem of evil, so I’ll side-step that issue here, for now at least, and return to the subject of Providence.
A case in point. A recent discussion with a friend in the writing industry, referenced in my blog on “dot.comification,” encouraged me to consider how I could strengthen my “brand” as a writer. A little looking around revealed, that one of my deficiences to date has been neglecting to get a site like this up and running. I’ve probably relied too much on www.bindingoftheblade.com, the website for my current fantasy series run by my publisher. So, I came to the conclusion I needed to get my own site. In fact, I started contacting some of the tech-savvy people at the school where I teach to get some information on how I might go about doing this very thing.
Meanwhile, an email was sitting in my inbox that had been forwarded from the “contact the author” option at the BOTB site mentioned above. It was from a fantasy writer who lived in St. Louis, where I also live, wanting to make contact. As he and I exchanged emails, it became clear that there were several points of contact beyond even our location and writing interests, including the fact that he and his family had recently begun attending the large mid-town church in St. Louis where my wife and I are members. Talk about a small world.
Well, as we talked by email, I found out about his own author’s website, which you can view via www.epictales.org, where his fantasy work “The Pendragon Spiral” is introduced as well as the story his daughter is working on. I was impressed. Come to find out, he works in the computer world, has graphic designing ability, and thus could design and manage his own site. I asked him about how I’d go about setting one up for myself, and he graciously offered his help which led fairly quickly to the creation of this very site.
My point here, is that it is one of the beauties of Providence that God knows precisely what we need,long before we do. Even as it was dawning on me that I needed this site, the email was waiting in my inbox to introduce me to the very person who could & would help make it a reality.
It is a wonderful thing to serve an ominiscient and merciful God who provides in remarkable ways. Providence does not mean that all things happen this neatly or easily, all the time. Quite the contrary, for every experience like this where it all fits into place so readily, there are three more where it doesn’t come together quite so well. And yet, every once in a while, God works things together in such a way, that even the most oblivious among us is reminded that God is with us.
And now, it would seem, that even this reflection on the ‘ordinary’ Providence of everyday life is in its own way a reflection on Christmas, for Advent is about the visible coming of “God with us,” of Immanuel. May we each have eyes to see and ears to hear the reminders of this truth that God gives us this Christmas season and beyond.