Does God protect us supernaturally? Are there instances where things we cannot see are going on behind the scenes; where God is actually paving the way, looking out for us, and actively protecting us—to which we may be oblivious? Those who know Him will give a vehement “yes” in response to these questions, but others might be skeptical. How can you prove it, they would say? Proof is a difficult standard, but when the preponderance of evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of certain facts, we cannot but conclude it is so—whether or not we can “prove” it.
“When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. ‘Oh, sir, what will we do now?’ the young man cried to Elisha. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ Elisha told him. ‘For there are more on our side than on theirs!’ Then Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’ The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” (2 Kings 6:15-17 NLT)
In our jaded society, these verses may seem like a fictionalized allegorical account—yet they aren’t; this is the record of an event that happened sometime in the past. How do we know? Because everything recorded in the Holy Bible actually happened. These are real occurrences recorded for our benefit, so we can better understand who God is, and how He moves on our behalf! So does this mean He always has angelic armies stationed around us?
Perhaps, because the Bible refers to His protection. Yet what we do know with certainty is that God moves on our behalf supernaturally in a myriad of ways to help and support His own; I’ve seen it and personally experienced it countless times. What do I mean? Let me back up a bit.
I recently purchased a book titled “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” by Jordan B. Peterson. I had no idea who the author is but the Amazon excerpt seemed interesting, so I ordered it, not realizing the author is apparently controversial.
When it came, I read the first chapter—about lobsters fighting to establish superiority or inferiority—and went to bed that night troubled by the content. I understood the author was not a believer in Christ but in evolutionary thinking, yet I couldn’t ascertain what, exactly, about what I had read was disconcerting (basically, it was that some people are winners and some losers, and that there are advantages attendant to being a winner and corresponding disadvantages for the loser).
The next time I sat down with the book, it hit me—why this assessment of humanity troubled me so much. It was because it did not consider the impact of Christ’s Spirit in us—regardless of whether the outside world considers us superior or inferior. The book described life without Christ, yet Christ in us modulates those society deems superior from arrogance, pride, selfishness, injustice towards others, oppression of the poor—from our natural, sinful inclinations. For the rest of us, He walks ahead of us to lessens our burdens and assists us in coping with the myriad of difficulties we face; He keeps us from making foolish decisions which further spiral people down—again, from our natural, sinful inclinations.
You see, the world Christ’s followers live in is different from the world everyone else inhabits. Yes, we face the same challenges those who do not belong to Christ face—but we do not face them alone! And it is not merely our belief that God is helping us that makes things different. Let me play devil’s advocate to explain.
Say you do not think you can do something and ask God to help you do it, and now you believe He is helping you so you try much harder and get it done, and end up concluding God helped you. A biblical skeptic could argue that the mere act of praying caused you to believe you could now do it, so you actually did it. I understand this argument—I’m not saying I agree with it, but I understand that it could be made, from a secular perspective. But there are other events in the lives of God’s people not so easily rationalized away.
I’ll use our own situation as an example. My husband has never been unemployed for any period of time; he has consistently worked his entire adult life. This past fall he finally sold a vacant piece of property that hadn’t sold for years—literally a week or two before he lost his job. This time, because he is older, he struggled getting rehired and then the coronavirus pandemic hit; as of this writing, he has been unemployed for eight months! Yet we are still living in our home, we were not cold in winter or hot now in summer, we are paying bills, eating and funding our daughter’s educational expenses. Our lives have not changed. Why? Because we believed in our own ability to do something and did it?! No! Because God knew what was about to happen, and provided, just as He provided for Christ’s family to make the move to Egypt to escape Herod through the provision the wise men brought—and as He provides for all who are His!
Mr. Peterson says, “If you slump around, with the same bearing that characterizes a defeated lobster, people will assign you a lower status, and the old counter you share with crustaceans, sitting at the very base of your brain, will assign you a low dominance number. Then your brain will not produce as much serotonin. This will make you less happy, and more anxious and sad…” Now, I will certainly not argue against standing up straight, but I would like to point out that all of God’s people, regardless of status, can have a healthy degree of serotonin in the full assurance that they are forgiven, loved and accepted in Christ, and precious to Him—regardless of how the world perceives them. This is the power of Christ! Because He has overcome the world, we can too.
So when the world assesses those not born rich or famous or wealthy or otherwise successful in the eyes of others unworthy, insignificant, replaceable—Christ comes in and redeems them. But there is more than that. God not only gives us value; He also gives us wisdom. Obeying Him, which secularists scorn, keeps us from the foolish life-altering and burdening sins human beings heap on themselves. Greed gets you into debt; lust gives you marital problems—do you see where I’m going? And, ultimately, God also actively intervened in the lives of His people to help them, as He did for us.
So, by all means, stand up straight as Mr. Peterson advises; it’s not bad advice! But when he concludes, “Then the meaning of your life may be sufficient to keep the corrupting influence of mortal despair at bay,” realize that merely standing up straight and facing all of life with resolute stoicism will not accomplish what the active intervention and power of Christ in those who believe Him will!
“And God will generously provide all you need…” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT)
Dear Lord God,
Thank You, thank You, thank You!!! Amen.