THE TWO EDGES OF PROVIDENCE

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A young man invested his savings in a peach orchard. He worked hard. The weather was favorable, he had a beautiful crop. Then, just before harvest, a blasting hailstorm struck. In a matter of minutes everything he had worked for was ruined.

Embittered by the experience, he quit going to church. A Christian friend expressed his concern. The young man said, “I’m not going to church anymore because I can’t love and worship a God who cares so little for me that He would let the hail destroy my crop.”

All was silent for a while. Then the friend said, “The Lord loves you more than your crop. He knows that fruit does better without storms, but He also knows it is impossible to produce Christian character without the storms of trial. God’s primary concern is to develop strong men, not lovely peaches.”

Many people equate God’s providence with events that are favorable such as being spared from a near tragedy. But their confidence in the Lord is shaken when disaster strikes.

Providence has two edges. One edge brings protection from painful things. The other edge permits painful things to happen in order to build strong people.

Job’s friend had a simplistic view of providence. He told Job his affliction was due to his sin. Job knew that wasn’t so. Yes, there were times he questioned the ways of God, but ultimately, he knew he didn’t have to comprehend God’s ways—he only had to trust Him.

We cannot always understand why God allows problems to come. But one thing is sure — those problems can be used by our Father to promote our spiritual growth and development.

Joe R. Barnett via Nettleton church of Christ Jonesboro, AR

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