Daily unexpected providence

In his book Miracles, Lee Strobel tells a story about Roger Olson. He was very distraught after a bad medical appointment.

The next day an old hymn about God’s comfort kept going through Roger’s head. Over and over.

On the following Sunday, the pastor in church announced that they would all sing hymn number 220 together: ‘Crown Him With Many Crowns.’ But when Roger opened the hymnal to number 220 it wasn’t ‘Crown Him With Many Crowns’; it was the hymn of comfort that had been coursing through his brain all week!

But why was everyone singing ‘Crown Him’ if the pastor had announced the wrong number?

Well, as it turns out, he hadn’t. The hymnal Roger picked up wasn’t supposed to be there. In fact, it didn’t match any of the other hymnals in the pews! This random hymnal, totally out of place, just so happened to include number 220 as the hymn of comfort that had been powerfully repeating in his head all week after his bad appointment.

Sure, it could have been a coincidence. But it could also have been God’s way of saying to Roger, ‘Even though your medical appointment didn’t turn out like you wanted, I’m still with you. Roger, it will be okay.’

Speaking about Jesus’ supremacy in Colossians 1:17, Paul writes: “in him all things hold together.” It’s a comment about God’s providence. That in him, God sustains all things and guides his people. I think that includes the ways he sustains, guides and comforts us through conversations, circumstances, and eyebrow-raising moments like the “wrong” hymn in a hymnal.

In Jesus “all things hold together.” So pay attention. Keep your brain open. He is sustaining, guiding and comforting you through all the ups and downs of life.

By Matthew Ruttan

  • Bible verses are from the New International Version (NIV).

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