In April 2012, Activate Church will be 6 years old. This is a great achievement and testimony to Gods grace when you consider that stats suggest up to 80% of church plants don’t survive past 2 years. As I look back over the journey of Activate I am struck by the power of Gods providence and sovereignty in my life and the life of the church.
In 2009 and 2010 I went through a ‘dark night of the soul’ where I asked a lot of deep questions about God, faith, myself, the world and people. One of the greatest theological insights that marked my life was the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men. As I read and reflected on the richness of the Scriptures and helpful books (see picture) I came to be in awe of God’s providential plan and purpose for planet earth, let alone for my life.
Providence says, that God is the power guiding and sustaining human destiny and is actively involved in moving creation to his eternal goal. History is being moved toward a pre-determined end. Jesus is the guarantor that God’s providential goal is salvation of his people, not destruction.
Providence is God guiding and sustaining human destiny!
Providence doesn’t mean we resign from life and sit on the sidelines but it does mean we have God’s grace to endure and overcome difficulties, as we understand that the big picture of our lives is on God’s hands. Unfortunately, We often only see God’s providence in hindsight through the rear-view mirror of life.
When I went through my dark night of the soul, God’s providence was at work teaching me that He isn’t just trying to do stuff through me but in me. One of the instruments God allows to sanctify us is suffering. While not all suffering is God’s will for us, he does use it to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness in our lives and become more like him. If Jesus, as our Lord and saviour, learned obedience through what he suffered, how much more will we, considering the biblical truth that no servant is greater than his master?
One of the greatest examples of providence in the bible is God’s grace at work in Joseph’s life
Joseph was called to lead but arrogant in his approach. He, like many leaders, faced a season of suffering. He was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused of sexual crimes and forgotten about. Yet, through it all, God’s providence was at work and it resulted in God’s calling on Joseph coming to pass, with Joseph being appointed to Prime Minister of Egypt and his brothers turning up for food. Joseph responded with God’s providence at the forefront of his mind and heart. Genesis 50:20-21 reads,
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So fear not, I will provide for you and your little ones.” (ESV)
As Joseph had experienced God’s providence, he extended grace and providence to his brothers in need. God’s providence in the leaders life is not just about them but for those they lead. Don’t misperceive God in your suffering as a leader, particularly in difficult seasons. Continue to trust in God’s sovereignty that what the devil means for evil, God will turn into good.
Where is the providence of God in your leadership journey?