Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Providence of God and the "three harbor lights of guidance" (Matthew 10:30)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 10:30 (TM) – larger reading Matthew 10:24-33
He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail - even numbering the hairs on your head!

Bob Munford tells of a certain Italian harbor that can be reached only by sailing up a narrow channel between dangerous rocks and shoals. Over the years, many ships have wrecked, and navigation is hazardous. To guide the ships safely into port, three lights have been mounted in the harbor on three huge poles. When the three lights are perfectly lined up and seen as one, the ship can safely proceed up the narrow channel. If the pilot sees two or three lights, he knows he’s off course and in danger.

Mumford goes on to say that God has also provided three beacons to guide us. The same rules of navigation apply – the three lights must be lined up before it is safe for us to proceed. The three harbor lights of guidance are 1. The Word of God (objective standard) 2. The Holy Spirit (subjective witness) 3. Circumstances (divine providence)

The Providence of God is not a strong subject for 21st Century Christians. We kind have gotten away from thinking that there is a constant power and pull of God on our daily lives. We lean more towards fate, chance and choice with the influence of our nurturing which shapes the reality of our world. How sad.

Personal choice and desire has a lot to do with shaping our journey and determining our present reality. There is a huge dynamic at play and that is the psychological and emotional needs that we each possess. We are somewhat controlled by these “basic” instincts and they in turn, pull us away from the “harbor lights of guidance”. We end up on the rocks – emotionally spent… unhappy, confused and bewildered. And yet, what about the “three harbor lights of guidance”… God’s providence?

As the church billboard states: “Faith makes it possible not easy.” And boy, do we want the easy way. We don’t like being told no… wait… have patience…  work harder… change… And yet, there are those “three harbor lights of guidance”. When we line those up into a single whole then the victory will be ours. If we try to navigate through life without those guidelines lining up we will crash against the hazards of life.

Those “three harbor lights of guidance” is the means by which the Providence of God becomes our reality.


Waiting is hard. Doing it your way is hard. Putting off the meeting of our physical and emotional needs is hard. Trying to line up those three guiding principles is hard. But if that is the only way I can experience your providence so be it!

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