Some wise words from Herman Bavinck on the doctrine of providence:

“The doctrine of providence is not a philosophical system but a confession of faith, the confession that, notwithstanding appearances, neither Satan nor a human being nor any other creature, but God and he alone–by his almighty and everywhere present power–preserves and governs all things. Such a confession can save us both from a superficial optimism that denies the riddles of life, and from a presumptuous pessimism that despairs of this world and human destiny. For the providence of God encompasses all things, not only the good but also sin and suffering, sorrow and death. For if these realities were removed from God’s guidance, then what in the world would there be left for him to rule? God’s providence is manifest not only, nor primarily, in the extraordinary events of life and in miracles but equally as much in the stable order of nature and the ordinary occurrences of daily life. What an impoverished faith it would be if it saw God’s hand and counsel from afar in a few momentous events but did not discern it in a person’s own life and lot? It leads all these things toward their final goal, not against but agreeably to their nature, not apart from but through regular means; for what power would there be in a faith that recommended stoical indifference or fatalistic acquiescence as true godliness? But so, as the almighty and everywhere present power of God, it makes us grateful when things go well and patient when things go against us, prompts us to rest with childlike submission in the guidance of the Lord and at the same time arouses us from our inertia to the highest levels of activity. In all circumstances of life, it gives us good confidence in our faithful God and Father that he will provide whatever we need for body and soul and that he will turn to our good whatever adversity he sends us in this sad world, since he able to do this as almighty God and desires to do this as a faithful Father.”

(Reformed Dogmatics, vol 2, pp. 618-19; cf. Heidelberg Catechism Q. 26-28, Lord’s Day 9-10)

4 thoughts on “Is God only God when things are good?

  1. I read this before I heard the news about the school shooting and thought it was powerful. Then I read it again after seeing all of the violence and evil that affected us all, especially the families in CT, through this tragedy. Your timing and your words should be helpful to many.

  2. Pingback: a pattern of sound words

  3. Pingback: A Father who is there | a pattern of sound words

  4. Pingback: Was that supposed to happen? (Or, “The goodness of God’s governance”) | a pattern of sound words

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