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Understanding Providence

The providence of God can stir loyalty


A loyal person understands providence. In order to understand this, by way of contrast, consider our culture today. If there's one word that characterizes our modern world, I think it might be the word disposable. The pace at which we live our lives has fueled a whole new world of products that can be used once and then trashed—everything from plates and cutlery to contact lenses and cameras.

This should cause us, in some spheres, to be very thankful. Grandparents look with envy at the ease with which their children take the disposable diaper off their grandchildren and throw it away, remembering the endless routine that they had to go through. I recently read that there has been talk of disposable clothing. This throwaway wardrobe would be paper-based, forever removing from life the pain of washing and ironing. That doesn't sound too bad! This would allow parents to be considerably more relaxed when junior dribbles ice cream down his shirt. In our society we've become used to things that have no intrinsic value. They are used on a short-term basis; that quickly becomes for us a way of life.

Some years ago, the toy manufacturer Mattel came up with an interesting scheme to promote the latest version of its world famous doll, Barbie. The new Barbie being brought out was both slimmer and had more movement than her predecessor. In order to attract interest, Mattel said that, for the first time, any girl wanting to purchase the new Barbie would receive a trade-in allowance for her old one. What Mattel did not say was that in trading in her old doll for an improved model, the little girl was learning something about the world in which she was going to grow up in—a world in which even things that you love ...

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Colin Smith is pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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Sermon Outline:


I. God allows the pain of difficult relationships.

II. God will use the most difficult of relationships to shape us.