How exactly is God involved in our lives? Did he just make us and then abandon us to watch as deists believe? Or is God really just everything that exists as pantheists think? The Bible paints a different picture, one in which God is continually involved with his creation, even to the extent that he directs evens for his purposes and for his glory.
In defining God’s Providence, the Westminster Confession of Faith states, “God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.” In other words, God is the boss and does what he wants, but he also loves us and choses to interact with us on a moment by moment basis. Hebrews 1.3 says that, “he [God] upholds the universe by the word of his power.” The original language that the Bible was written in literally has the word upholds in this verse as meaning that God is continually bearing and carrying. God is separate from creation, but still holds together all things, and runs the show.
God is so involved in his creation that he even directs events in history. Ephesians 1.11 says that he, “works all things according to the counsel of his will”. This is cool because even the most mundane parts of our lives really do mean something and that “for those who love God all things work together for good” as Romans 8.28 says. He is so intricately involved in our lives that the Scripture says that he even directs our steps. Now of course we are free to act out of our desires, but there is a point where God’s rule really has no limits, even so that the writer of Psalm 139 could state, “in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet tree was none of them.”
The best analogy that I have heard about this paradox of our free will and God’s providence is from Dr. Wayne Grudem. He gives the example of King Duncan in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. He states that in the book it is clear that Macbeth kills King Duncan. But on a whole different level, Shakespeare actually planned and caused King Duncan’s death. There was both, Macbeth did kill the king but Shakespeare wrote the play and directed the events.
Even though the totality of God’s Providence we cannot really fully grasp, it is good to know that the one who ultimately is in charge is also good, just and loving. Good enough go send his Son to die for us and redeem us. Take some time to think of the times in your life where God’s hand was clearly involved in a moment in your life.