Autumn in Italy is a special time of year, my favorite! In the small towns, like ours, the scent of wood smoke floats in the crisp, clean air. The grapes ferment into fine wines, and olives, pressed into Italy’s green gold, glisten in their bottles.

But as an American, my thoughts turn naturally to Thanksgiving. Although with our kids grown and gone and Hubby working, we no longer ‘celebrate’ the holiday. But still it remains to me one of America’s greatest! 

We have so much to be grateful for. For all that’s happened and all the Lord has done. For all that perhaps could have happened but never did. Day by day and year by year, we’ve seen his provision and care.

And we’ve known his Providence, in the good times and the bad.

In the film Anne of Green Gables, Matthew Cuthbert told his sister Marilla that it was a lucky mistake the orphanage sent Anne instead of a boy. But Marilla responded, “It wasn’t luck, it was providence. He knew we needed her.”

Curious, as I’d never really thought of it before, I looked it up. “What,” I wondered, “is the difference between provision and providence?” And I learned that this seldom used word makes all the difference in the world.

Provision is having your necessities supplied, and it’s a wonderful thing. But providence goes so much deeper. Provision can come from any source. And by hard work or prudence, we can even become the source of our own provision.

But Providence is supply which can only come from the hand of God. It indicates not only God’s special care and guidance, but his foresight in directing the affairs of the universe or his benevolent care of us.

It’s God doing what only he can do. Providing what only he can provide. Preventing what only he can prevent. And like with the Cuthberts, sending not what we want, but what he knows we need.

Chills run down my spine in just thinking of that scene. “He knew we need her.” I’ve known many such moments in my life, and I’m sure you have too. Times when we’ve clearly seen the hand of God at work knowing what only he could know, doing what only he could do.

But how can we discern Providence even in the bad times?

These are troubled times of war and death, sickness and poverty, with evil coming out more strongly every day. How can we see God at work in a world gone so wrong? And learn to give thanks in such times?

King David knew such fear and trouble. Scholars believe that he penned many of the Psalms, including 23 and 27, while in exile, driven out and abandoned. His own son had seized the throne. Enemies chased and threatened on every side. Yet even those Psalms overflow with thanksgiving, gratitude, and trust.

For David knew God’s Providence. He had seen the Lord protect him and keep him safe, even in impossible circumstances. He’d found the Lord a safe shelter DURING the storm, a strong fortress THROUGH times of distress. A hiding place IN a world gone wrong. And knowing that even if all others should forsake, the Lord never would, he sang songs of praise and declared he always would.

So will you give thanks this year for God’s great gift of Providence — past, present, and future.

Remember: He really does know just what we need!

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

[Image by Pamjpat/Pixabay.com; CC0]

12 thoughts on “Giving Thanks for Providence

  1. Oh my what extreme Providence he has shown to me this past year. God has been amazing in my life and I thank you for clarifying between provision and Providence. It is indeed Providence that he has had on me and my wife as we battle this cancer. He has been so merciful to me. We serve an awesome God

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  2. Sheila, Thank you for this post. I had never considered the difference between provision and providence. Thank you! I’m glad that you’re remembering all that you are thankful for even though the holiday is not in Italy. I’m glad that you are celebrating and giving thanks in your heart. Many blessings to you and Mario. Karen

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  3. Oh Pete, I didn’t realize that you and your wife are battling cancer. That’s tough. It’s in such times that we need to really understand God’s providence, isn’t it? Our omnipotent and omniscient God knows just what to send or not send, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. I’m so glad you have found his mercy and providence enough to see you through, and i rejoice with you!

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  4. Thanks Karen, neither had I. But I was so blessed over the discovery. And guess what? This year we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. A younger missionary couple in our church fixes a huge meal. They’re young and energetic. It’s an outreach activity, and we usually have about 60-70 people in attendance. We, along with many other helpers, will be going to give a hand with preparations on Saturday and praying that many guests will have their hearts touched by God’s great love!

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  5. Thank you Sheila. It has been an incredible journey and God has Draw Me Closer to his side than I ever been through this battle with cancer. My wife has been an amazing caregiver. God has been very merciful to me.

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  6. That’s a great testimony Pete. But I especially like how you say that he has drawn you closer to him. So often we hear “God has drawn closer to me in this.” As though God had gone somewhere. He’s always been right there with us, still is, and always will be. We just lose track of him sometimes. Good to see you counting your blessings with your faithful wife by your side! God is good!

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