Divine Protection

I cling to you, and your hand keeps me safe (Psalms 63:8).

Remember the wonderful blessings that come to you each day from the hands of a generous God, and forget the irritations that would detract from your happiness–William Arthur Ward

One day Diogenes was on a journey. It was hot and he was thirsty. He wanted very much to have some water to drink. So, he went to the river with his begging bowl. As he was standing on the bank, a dog passed him by, running, panting, jumped into the river, had a good bath and drank to his heart’s content. Then an idea arose in Diogenes’ mind:”This dog is freer than me –he does not have to carry a begging bowl. And if he can manage, why can’t I manage without a begging bowl? This is my only possession, and I have to keep an eye on it because it can be stolen. Even in the night once or twice I have to feel whether it is still there or gone.” So he threw the begging bowl into the river, bowed down to the dog, thanked him for the great message that he had brought for him from God.

Doesn’t it echo the carefree chirping of the birds, free flow of the brook, the gentle breeze–energy flowing in a joyous cosmos? Yes. Every one of us likes to have such carefree flow in life. Living a life in all its glory and majesty is carefree living. Everyone likes to lead a carefree life. But for most of us carefree living is taking no responsibilities and an escape from the world itself. It is not a true carefree life. You believe in the Divine and His incessant providence at every moment of your life. In other words, it is just learning to cooperate with the inevitable. Carefree does not mean indifference. Every morning the sun and its beams knock at your door and your door is closed. The sun will not force its way in. You allow the sun to come in and that is being carefree. Let us examine for a moment: Are we living life carefree? Are we living in the present moment, spontaneously, or worried about the future?

Look at the birds: they do not sow seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds (Mathew 6:26).

In an interview with the well-known journalist and author, Khushwant Singh, Mother Teresa shared some of her early experiences of God’s providence. At the start, her organization was little known and often short of cash. “Money has never been much of a problem,” she told Singh, “God gives through his people.” She narrated how when she started her first school in the slums, she had no more than five rupees with her. But as soon as people came to know what she was doing, they brought money and things. “It’s all divine providence,” she said. On one occasion, when they had run out of rations, a lady they had never seen before left them a bag of rice. “We measured the rice with our little cup. It was exactly what we required for the day,” recalled Mother Teresa. “When I told the lady that, she broke down and cried as she realized that God had used her as an instrument of his will.” Jesus knows our every need long before we become aware of it and prepares us to meet those needs far beyond our expectations.

Psalmist sings: The Lord is great and is to be highly praised; his greatness is beyond understanding. What you have done will be praised from one generation to the next; they will proclaim your mighty acts. They will speak of your glory and majesty and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. People will speak of your mighty deeds, and I will proclaim your greatness.… (Psalm 145: 3-20).

When a child of God is faced with needs in the physical, emotional and spiritual realms of life, he or she has a place to go for help. There is full freedom and privilege to approach the throne of grace with confidence and courage because our Lord is the One sitting on the throne. This throne is the source of grace and mercy according to the depth of our needs. There is grace for every need when the Lord would deal with us not according to our faults and failures. There is abundance of mercy at the throne where our merciful Lord would not give us what we deserve according to our iniquities and shortcomings. Our Lord is compassionate. He comforts us in our failures and equips us with more strength to resist temptations. He equips us to come out successfully in the tests He has designed for us. He gives us wise counsel so that we would not be trapped and lured by the enemies of our souls through deception.

When we go through the valley of darkness, Let Almighty God be your gold, and let him be silver, piled high for you. Then you will always trust in God and find that he is the source of your joy. When you pray, he will answer you, and you will keep the vows you made. You will succeed in all you do, and light will shine on your path (Job 22: 25-28).

Two monks were on their travels. One of them practiced the spirituality of acquisition, the other believed in renunciation. All day long they discussed their respective spirituality till, towards evening they came to the bank of a river. Now the believer in renunciation had no money with him. He said, “We cannot pay the boatman to take us across, but why bother about the body? We shall spend the night here, chanting God’s praises and tomorrow we are sure to find some kind soul who will pay our passage.”

The other said, “There is no village on this side of the river, no hamlet, no hut, no shelter. We shall be devoured by wild beasts or bitten by snakes or killed by the cold. On the other side of the river we shall be able to spend the night in safety and comfort. I have the money to pay the boatman.”

Once they were safely on the other bank he remonstrated with his companion, “Do you see the value of keeping money? I was able to save your life and mine. What would have happened to us if I had been a man of renunciation like you?”

The other replied, “It was your renunciation that brought us across to safety, for you did part with your money to pay the boatman, didn’t you? Moreover, having no money in my pocket, your pocket became mine. I have observed that I never suffer; I am always provided for.

How wonderful are the good things you keep for those who honour you. Everyone knows how good you are, how securely you protect those who trust in you (Psalms 31:19).

O Lord, you protect me and save me; your care has made me great, and your power has kept me safe (Psalms 18:35).  The Lord watches over those who love him, he is their strong protection and firm support. He shelters them from the heat, shades them from the noonday sun, and keeps them from stumbling and falling. He makes them cheerful and puts a sparkle in their eyes. He blesses them with life and health (Sirach 34:16).  Trust in the Lord and do good; live in the land and be safe. Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire (Psalms 37:3). He provides food for those who honour him; he never forgets his covenant (Psalms 111:5) Trust in the Lord forever, he will always protect us (Isaiah 26:4). I will bless the person who puts his trust in me.  He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. They are not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

This is why I tell you not to be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes? (Mathew 6:25)

Elsy Mathew