What is the “Providence of God”?
About the providence of God in Orthodoxy is said very often. But for many, especially the beginners, the meaning of this term seems incomprehensible. What it is? Is it different from the will of God? How to explain the fact that people get sick, grieve, and die in a hurry? Read on.
The most common definition
The definition given by Metropolitan Philaret in the "Extensive Christian Catechism" is considered to be classic:unceasing action in the world by the all-good, all-wise and all-powerful will of God, all turning to good and directing to the eternal salvation of each person individually and humanity as a whole
Every person can find in his own life examples of how “well-formed circumstances” happened, people walked towards, some miracles happened (they were late for “mortal” airplanes, survived after severe injuries and so on). It was nothing but the providence of God. The Lord himself does not want the death of a sinner, He thinks about the salvation of everyone. How can He try to help us. But for this you also need the readiness to correctly understand and accept from the person.
It sometimes happens that a person became estranged from God, because of sin he was spiritually blind. In order to regain sight, he needs to go through the trials and be cleansed, to realize that without God we can do nothing.
For this, God allows for the benefit of our sorrow and sickness. There are many examples of how people, seriously ill, completely changed. They learned to trust their lives to God. There are those who received healings and know exactly from whom it was. There are also people who retreated to eternity, but they also understood Who and why it was sent. An amazing example is Schema-monk Anna.
God works in mysterious ways
But there are many such cases, when it is simply impossible to explain why this happened to me. It is said that the providence of God is incomprehensible. It is not possible for a person to know the whole depth of the Lord's purpose. Over this puzzled many saints and religious philosophers, not like ordinary people. An indicative story is about Avve Antonia.
This ascetic thought a great deal about how God arranges everything in the world. He began to prayerfully address the Supreme: “Lord! That is why some people live to old age (often painful), while others move away to another world in infancy? Why do some have everything, while others live in poverty? Why often far from moral people live well and be content with everythingand decent, pious grieve, have a lack of necessary for life? "
And what answer did Antony get? "Look at yourself and do not look at the Lord’s providence, because it is soulful."
Let this story be a lesson for each of us. It’s not for nothing that the Apostle Paul says that the ways of the Lord are inscrutable.
Providence of God = the will of the Lord?
In spiritual literature, in parallel with the concept of providence, the phrase “the will of God” is also used. Is it so? There is no definite answer. Many saints and clergy identify them.
Professor Alexey Osipov suggests to distinguish all the same.
If the first is the classical definition of Metropolitan Philaret, then the second is the commandments of God, which the Lord Himself gave to humanity. That is, He has declared how it is necessary for a person to live in order to achieve holiness.
But no matter how hard we try, it will not be possible to completely get rid of sin. In order not to drown a man in the sea of vices, the merciful Creator will guide Him with His own hand. But only in such limits that they do not harm human freedom. This is the providence of God.