Vol.XVIII No.II Pg.5
April 1981

Divine Providence

Robert F. Turner

Piet Joubert came to the U.S. from South Africa in September, 1960 — a stranger in a strange land. Through contacts made by bro. Andy deKlerk he came to Indianapolis, Ind. to see bro. Sam Heaton, who was to meet him at the huge city bus terminal. But neither man knew the other. Piet alighted from the bus and was standing, trying to decide what to do, when he heard a phone ringing in a tier of six or eight public booths.

Piet says he has no idea why he walked over to the booth and picked up the phone. But he did; and when he identified himself, the party on the line said she was Mrs. Heaton, and proceeded to tell Piet where he could find a paging phone, and use it to locate her husband. How came sister Heaton to call that public phone? And that is easy compared with — why did a strange man in a strange city pick up the receiver in a public phone booth? A quick reply is foolish.

Some will say this was a miracle; but miracles are indicative of power that transcends or sets aside natural law. Nothing like that took place in the telephone incident. A miracle claim in this case must vie with ESP or other like offerings for booking. Can the source of such a happening be determined with certainty — can we prove that anything other than chance took place, remarkable though it was?

Bible miracles were exposed to "before -after" examination; and were for the purpose of "confirming the word" (Mk. 16:20, Heb. 2:3-4). If this was a miracle did it stamp God's approval upon Piet's trip? What if a like happening occurred for a Christian Science worker? Would you assign it the same approval? Before we say it couldn't happen to them, we should know there are hundreds of authenticated experiences like this, under many different circumstances and to all kinds of people.

Shall we call it the "providence" of God? All who truly believe in the sovereignty of God can agree it is within His knowledge and power to affect the affairs of this world to His desired end. Scriptures contain examples of God's use of nations (Nah. 1: 5-6, 12) and events (Gen. 45:5-8; 50: 19-20); and we are even told to pray for His assistance (Jas. 1:5-7). It is one thing, however, to believe He intervenes in cases so documented by inspiration; and quite another thing to assign Divine intervention on the basis of subjective speculation.

Yes, I believe God answers prayer. But if you ask, "Where? When? How?" I must say that is God's end of the deal. I must pray for daily bread but not be so concerned about its source that I fail to put His kingdom first in my life (Matt. 6:11, 25-f).

Wonderful blessings abound in the life of faithful saints; and frequently they are startled by events that defy explanation. My faith prevents my ruling out divine providence, nor have I any inclination to do so. But respect for God also prevents my making careless arbitrary assignment of events to His hands. Let us accept God's blessings, use them to His glory, thank Him for them; and remember He is in Production, we are in Sales.