Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Providence

We don't hear the word "providence" much any more, but if you read American Literature from the Colonial Period, you find it everywhere. If the early Americans believed anything, they believed in God and that He was looking out for them, that He intervened in their lives. The word breaks down etymologically into two parts: pro = before, and video = to see, thus its parts mean "to see before." The idea is that God sees before and makes preparation for us to give us victory, safety, deliverance.

Today it seems people are more likely to assign to luck the things that early Americans assumed were the works of God. I still believe in providence, as do many others, and it seems the height of ingratitude to credit anything or anyone but God with God's work. Let me give you one example from a few years back. I asked my dad to drive me to Minter City Methodist Church and drop me off. I then spent the next six hours running and walking home. I get a charge out of these things. The day was cold, and I was well prepared for my journey except for one thing. I forgot to bring gloves.

I'm pretty good at forgetting things, and God is smart enough to know this. As I trotted along Highway 8, I told God I needed a pair of gloves. Just a few more tenths of a mile and . . . you guessed it: I found a pair of gloves on the shoulder of the road. They fit perfectly, and I was comfortable for the rest of my journey. One can approach that incident in one of two ways: it was just happenstance, or it was providence. I suppose some people may think it is the height of pride to think that the God of the universe would concern Himself with a shuffling forgetter such as me. I think it is the height of ingratitude to be unthankful for God's gift. I think these differences in outlook are more than a mere mental approach but rather have to do with a bent of the heart that sends our minds down one path or the other. The Bible says that every man has been given the measure of faith. Some embrace that faith and nurture it. Some do not and that is the difference.

Looking back over this year's Chicot Challenge, I am beginning to see God's hand moving in the midst of my blindness, frustration, and ineptitude. We pushed the swim back one week due to the weathermen's predictions. The fact that those predictions did not come to pass can result in a lot of second guessing and even frustration. My wife, however, told me the other day that she had been dreading the swim during the week it was originally scheduled, but that she was now getting excited. For some reason, I feel the same way. I was not ready, at least mentally, for a swim of that magnitude. I feel more prepared now and I like my wife I am getting excited. Could God be in the arrangement providentially moving the swim to a better time? Were there problems, danger awaiting us on the lake on June 4 that God saved us from? Only heaven will reveal that or God may chose not to tell us then. But I do know of one blessing that the delay has brought.

I lost my room on Ditch Bayou when we postponed the swim. Last night my wife and I drove over to Lake Village area to take care of some business and while we were there we decided to drive into town and try to find a room. I could just sleep at home, but I need as much rest as I can get to swim all day. On the way to town, Penny noticed a vacancy sign that I failed to see. We turned around and went back to what turned out to be Lighthouse Inn. Funny, I had never noticed that place before. Not only did they have room, but it was much cheaper than the one I had on the bayou. Furthermore, when the proprietor found out about the swim, she gave me, unsolicited, a substantial discount. And the Lighthouse Inn is only about a mile from where we start the swim. Thank you, God. 

I now have more motivation for this swim than any I have ever done before. I now firmly believe God is working to give us success. That belief is powerful and comforting. I hope the crew shares that faith. I think they do. Thank you, Lord.