2002-09-09 - God's Providence
Psalm 111:4 He has made His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
A couple weeks ago I was driving in Connecticut shortly after 4 AM on a Wednesday morning. I noticed ahead of me that the concrete median and side of the left lane were on fire. This was perplexing because I had never seen anything quite like that before. There were no work crews in the area. There were no police. There was just fire. As I drove by in the left lane I could have reached out and touched the flames if my window were open. I smelled oil and then noticed that the lane I was driving in was wet. It had not been raining. I figured that might be oil so I switched to the middle lane. Within 5 seconds the entire left lane went up in a conflagration that would have engulfed my car and me. The flames were well over the roof of my car.
I was still confused as to what was going on. I was on Route 95, the major corridor north to south on the East coast. This road was not supposed to be on fire. It was for driving. The smoke became really thick. It became so thick that I could not even see the hood of my car. There was a tracker trailer in the left lane and as I passed it, it exploded. Front to back, both sides simply exploded and I was right next to it. I have only felt heat like that once before in my life. Upon reflection, I thought a few minutes later, "I don't want to go to hell." It was that hot.
Anyway, I am and was fine. However, it is probably one of the closest "death" experiences I have had. The road was still closed in both directions four hours later and I was the last car through. Certainly, the Lord could have taken me home at either moment and it would have simply been called an unfortunate accident. I could still have been in the left lane when it went up in flames. The metal from the exploding truck could have easily gone through the roof of my convertible and killed me. But that did not happen and it is not due to any brains I have, or my foresight, skill, talent, or anything. The fact that my life was spared has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with the Providence of God.
This has not been a good year for me and cars. In April I introduced my new Ford Explorer to three trees and the trees won the argument. The Lord could have easily taken me home there also. The car was a total loss. However, the Lord has been gracious to me in granting more time. The Providence of God is closely related to His Sovereignty. The Lord, "Upholds all things by the Word of His power," Hebrews 1:3. In the Lord, "All things consist," Colossians 1:17. As we ascribe to the Lord His rightful place as the creator of all things, so also must we know Him as the sustainer of all things created. He upholds. He preserves. He alone is Lord and it is only by His grace, sovereignty and providence that we are sustained.
All of God's providence is God's work. Great events, small trifles, and everything in between are all beholden to His providence. As we do the 9-11 thing this week we need to keep this in mind. God is the Supreme Disposer of all things. Is the Lord the author of evil? If you think so, you don't know Him as I do. No, the Lord is gracious and kind. His mercy is an awesome thing to comprehend and yet we can't even comprehend how wonderful it is.
I admit to having a fresh perspective on God's Providence. It seems that such an experience is not a bad thing. Such events in life are not mere reminders of who is in control, rather they are proof of who is in control. In that I am thankful to the Lord for the timely reminder. Besides the reminder that at anytime we may be called to give an account, it is also a reminder of how God's love and care are the only things that we can really place our hope in. It is with joy that I can say with President Edward's, "Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God."
Soli Deo Gloria,