January 08, 2009

The Caring Father

Genesis 45:1-11

“God sent me ahead of you … to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
Genesis 45:7


Ask any parent. Parenting is a task filled with great joy. It can also be a task filled with great pain. After all, parents care deeply for their children. They want to run ahead of their children and anticipate problems. But parents have limited resources to control the future. They cannot save their children from the pain of tragedy or bad mistakes. Human parents have limited ability to bring good out of every road their children might take.

In the care of ordinary mothers and fathers, I see a reflection of the providential care of the heavenly Father. Providence literally means “to see ahead.” Unlike ordinary parents, our divine Father has perfect vision concerning the future.

After all, history itself is in God’s hands. That doesn’t mean he always saves us from foolish mistakes or painful tragedies. But it does mean that when our lives are caught up in the life of Christ, he guides us in ways that bring us ultimate blessing. In the words of Joseph to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).

An old catechism puts it this way: “Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God by which … all things … come to us not by chance but from his fatherly hand” (Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 27).

Lord, we give thanks that your wisdom and power work all things for good for those who love Jesus. Help us to trust you, especially when challenges come. Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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