God’s Providence

God’s Providence is the Divine care for us. Everything that has been done by God’s Providence, seems to have been done in the best possible way. The fact that God cares – really cares a great deal for human kind, can be deducted from the following logical contemplation.

God is good. Therefore, He cares and strives for His children; it is in human nature and in the nature of animals as well, to take care of their children. The person who does not manifest this kind of care and love is considered evil. Since God is omniscient, He reveals His will in the most perfect way regarding His creations. When we personally feel and experience God’s Providence, we should honour His goodness. We must celebrate Him without analyzing and accept all the deeds of His Providence, even though sometimes they appear uncomprehensible and unjust.

Elder Paisios once told me about the following event:

”Once when I was preparing to leave for Mount Athos and needed about 1000 drachmas for my traveling expenses, at that moment I didn’t have any money at all, because I had previously told the postman that he should return to the sender every check sent to me. As I was going through this difficult situation, one of the monks brought me, along with the mail, an envelope with a 1000 drachmas check. In the spot where the address of the sender was supposed to be was, I read the name of Theotokos Pantanassa (this is the name of the Mother of God – The Most Holy Empress of All). When I realized that this was a sign of God’s Providence, I cried and thanked God and His Most Holy Mother.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?

I have seen many things in my life and all that is miraculous. When you don’t care about yourself, God won‘t let you even think that you lack anything. As you can see, I was sent the check before I even realized that I need 1000 drachmas. God, our Good Father, provides everything ahead even before we become aware of our need and before we pray for His help. His Providence takes care of everything. However, He needs to see that we hope in Him. After this elder Paisios quoted the following verses from the New Testament: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you…for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him (Matthew 6, 31-33 и 6, 8).

It is our duty and a matter of interest to please God and our neighbour; we mustn‘t  be occupied with ouselves and our needs because God will take care of them. There is a silent spiritual contract between God and man. God looks after us, whereas we try to live according His will. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5, 7).

One day I was visited by a Mr. I. F. from Germany. He had just finished his project of building a fishpond in Komotini (a city in northern Greece) and asked me to pray for him to receive an official permission for the realization of that project. Out of curiosity I asked him about the fish reproduction and breeding in the pond. He answered:

“The small fish, father, when they are born, have a small bubble in their abdomen, called yolk sac, with all the necessary vitamins and ingredients for survival in the first critical days of life. When the bubbles are empty, the fish abdomen is already developed enough for them to take food directly from the sea.”

I was deeply touched when I heard that. In the next several days I constantly praised God, thinking to myself: God is so good that He cares even about the small fish he has created for our nutrition, providing enough care for them to survive. It’s so sad that we are constantly worried and have insufficient faith in Him for everything. It is terrible! God carefully cares even about His smallest creations. Imagine just how big His care is for us, who have been created according to His image and for who He created everything. However, being blind, we are not capable of seeing his Providence that covers every aspect of our life.

When a man expresses his wish to live a simple life, he humbly sees upon himself and can feel the paternal hand of God, rejecting at the same time his own unrest and worries and trusting Him. When God sees that this soul confides in Him for everything, He covers it with His care and Providence and then the soul clearly sees God’s help and rejoices.

God likes our souls simple, without too many complicated thoughts and immense knowledge; He want’s them to be like the small children expecting everything from their parents. This is what He means when He says: ”If you don’t become like children you won’t enter the Heavenly Kingdom.” We must pray to God with simplicity and recognize our weakness, in this way we could free ourselves from our restlessness and worries; as the shadow follows our body, so will God’s mercy follow our humbleness and faith.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).

When we believe in God and trust His fatherly Providence and care, we are free from thinkig about ourselves; it’s actually quite the opposite, we know that God is aware of all our needs and supervises our problems, from the smallest to the biggest. The only thing we should do is let God’s love and Providence act in our lives right when He wishes and in the way He thinks is the best for us. When we have such faith and internal mood, we would be able to see the miracles of God and even God Himself, Who is always close to us in every case. In order for that to happen we must reject every earthly help and not rely on people, but with pure heart, trust and without hesitation yield our mind to God. Only in this way God’s grace can fill our soul.

God’s Providence will take care of everything in our life, but only if we reject everything else and completely, without scattering of thoughts, we stick our mind to His love. At that point God will serve to us through His Providence (as He always does for His beloved servants) and we would be able to see that nothing we miss, becaus He said: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6, 33).

When someone‘s sole goal in life is to search for the Heavenly Kingdom and God’s justice only, then God, Who is always just and in Whom there is no lie, will give his soul everything it needs.

Some people have certain misconception about God’ Providence: they think that although they care so much about worldly things and attach to them, they can still expect help from God. But to the people who think like that  God’s Providence would be destructive, because it would enhance even further their attachment to earthly things, so God is helping them in allowing them to experience temptations and hardships in life, in order for them to abhor earthly things and fully direct the love of their hearts towards Him.

The Lord Almighty

God cares about everyone, both righteous and sinners: He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5,45). However, there is a difference. God’s Providence is  always obvious in in the lives of righteous people, whereas in the sinful people’s lives it’s barely noticeable or sometimes as if completely gone. God sometimes leaves the sinners in order to humble their souls through life hardships and temporarily “absence” of His Providence, thus waking up their faith and love toward Him.

All this is obviously true, because a person who believes in God’s justice, would want God to govern his life and be his protector, whereas the one who hopes for human’s justice, wants to be the only person to control his life, relying on his own knowledge, without being aware of  his weakness and the fact that he cannot do anything without God. Apart from me you can do nothing (John 15,5) and Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12,5). Thus this person will definitely be abandoned by God, so that he could understand better his weakness and look for help from above with all his heart.

Excerpt from the book: Јеромонах Христодулос, Старец Пајсиј СветогорецВелес 2009, pp. 63-67