Andrew C. Schroer
In December of 1630, Roger Williams, a Puritan pastor from England, boarded a ship called the Lyon and sailed to the New World. He and his wife, Mary, hoped to find peace from the persecution they had suffered as Puritans. They settled in the Massachusetts colony and began serving a Puritan congregation in the town of Salem.
Williams, however, was soon expelled from the congregation due to his radical views. You see, Williams believed that church and state should be completely separate—that the government shouldn’t get involved with or regulate churches. To our modern sensibilities, such an idea is far from radical. In fact, it’s one of the founding principles of our country—in large partly due to Roger Williams.
In the 17th century, however, the separation of church and state was considered fanatical and subversive. So Williams looked for a place where his family could live and believe what they wanted without government interference. He took a boat to a tiny island called Rhode Island, which at the time was inhabited almost entirely by Native Americans. There Williams founded his own settlement. Williams was so thankful God had provided him and others a refuge where they could believe and worship as they wished, he called the place “Providence.”
But Providence isn’t just the capital of Rhode Island.
It’s what God does for you and me every day: He provides for us. Just look around at all that you have—homes, cars, phones, beds, clothes, and TVs. We have so much food that we periodically have to clean out our refrigerators because it goes bad. We have so much stuff that our biggest frustration with our homes is that the closets are too small. Sit down one day and try to make a list of everything you own—everything you have. Just look at all the good things God has provided for you.
Yet at times, we have the gall to consider ourselves poor, or at least not rich. We look at the “rich” people down the road. We don’t have what they have, so we think we must be poor. We fail to see that the poorest of us are richer than 90 percent of the world.
But wait a minute, you may be thinking. God didn’t provide this. I did. I worked my rear end off to pay for all this stuff. Yes, but who gave you the opportunity to work? Who gave you the ability to work? Who gave you your body and mind?
Everything we have is because God in his love has provided it for us. In fact, he has provided us with the things we need the most—forgiveness and heaven. Those are gifts we don’t deserve. You and I have fallen and failed so many times. We have thought, said, and done so many bad things in our lives. The only things we deserve are God’s anger and punishment in hell.
But in his great love, God provided a Savior, Jesus, who suffered our punishment in our place. Through Jesus, God provides the forgiveness we so desperately need. Through faith in Jesus, he provides you a forever home in the riches and happiness of heaven.
Look at all that God has done for you. Recognize what he has provided for you. Thank him every day.
Because Providence isn’t just the capital of Rhode Island.
Author: Andrew C. Schroer
Volume 106, Number 7
Issue: July 2019