by Jerry Bridges /
Read all the posts published to date in this 9-part series on God’s Providence from Cruciform’s good friend, the late Jerry Bridges. This was a teaching Jerry was presenting in the months leading up to his fatal heart attack in March, 2016.
GOD’S PROVIDENCE, PART EIGHT OF NINE
I grew up in poverty during the Great Depression years. No plans for college and no money. During the last semester of my senior year in high school I saw an article in the newspaper about a new officer-training program for the Navy. I applied, passed the exam, and received a four-year fully paid scholarship. I graduated and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet where I met Jim Wilson at a meeting. He told me about the Navigators and one thing led to another and I eventually ended up on staff.
Think what had to happen for all this to come to pass.
At some prior time, Navy leadership decided they needed more officers. They developed a plan to provide training in universities. Then they made contractual arrangements with several schools. Next, they had to get the word out to potential candidates. Our newspaper picked up on the news. I happened to read the article, get motivated, and apply.
Fast-forward four years. Even though Jim Wilson and I were on different ships, we were assigned to attend a seminar on the same base. There were a lot of people at the seminar and yet Jim and I happened to meet. There were many secondary causes involved in this—and yet, ultimately, God was the primary cause orchestrating every detail. [For a review of the meaning of primary and secondary causes, see Part 3, item 1].
In other words, the events of our lives don’t just happen—an infinitely wise God providentially directs them.
Someone has said, “Wisdom consists in the selection of the best result of an action, and the adoption of the best means to accomplish that end.” The best possible end of all God’s actions is His glory. That is, all that God does or allows in all of His creation will inevitably serve to enhance His glory.
For us individually, the best end result is conformity to the image of His Son. God is directing and orchestrating all the events and circumstances of our lives to that end. That is what Romans 8:28-29 teaches us. The “good” of verse 28 is conformity to the image of His Son, which enables us to reflect some of God’s glory!
Hebrews 12:10 states it differently, “For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” Note the contrast between human parental discipline, and God’s discipline. We discipline as it seems best. The text does not say, God does likewise. Instead, with no equivocation or indecisiveness, in His infinite wisdom, God disciplines for our good—and He always knows what is best.
This has been Part 8 of a 9-part series on God’s providence from Jerry Bridges.
Jerry Bridges (1929-2016) was the author of Who Am I? — Identity in Christ, as well as numerous other books, including The Pursuit of Holiness (which has sold more than 1.4 million copies), and the award-winning The Discipline of Grace and I Will Follow You, O God. He maintained an international speaking ministry and, from 1955 until his death, served in a variety of capacities with the Navigators.Related posts: