The following commentary by Kevin DeYoung is republished here with permission. DeYoung is the Senior Pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, MI and the co-author of Why We're Not Emergent: By Two Guys That Should Be. Pastor DeYoung blogs regularly at DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I just got back from a mini-mini-vacation with my family. Since I had the weekend off, we loaded up the car early Sunday morning and drove to College Church in Wheaton (four hours away) in time for their 11:00 AM service (and a torrential hail storm). We visited friends in the afternoon and spent the night at a hotel in luxurious Carol Stream (in the same hotel where J.I. Packer once lodged I'm told-oooh!).
Around about four in the morning (which was really like 3:00 AM before the time change, but since we were on Central time I guess it felt like 4:00 AM to us, so never mind), our three year old fell out of bed, which prompted our one year old to wake up and cry like she was being dropped off at the nursery.
So my wife took a turn. Then around about 5:00 AM I took a turn. While I was hunkering down in the bathroom trying not to disturb the rest of the fam, with my precious little girl munching on Cracklin Oat Bran before the crack of dawn, I started meandering through my complimentary copy of USA Today (yes, it comes to your door that early). The news for Monday morning was grim. Lead story: Americans are becoming less religious. Bottom of page 1: pastor shot during church service. Elsewhere: Obama to reverse ban on federal funding for stem cell research. LAter: stocks may take more than 25 years to recover their losses, once they bottom out that is. For some reason the full page spread on Dancing With The Stars just pushed me over the edge. How can so much be going wrong in the world?
I put my little one to bed and gave her two pacifiers and, with mom literally in the dark, a baggie of Cracklin Oat Bran just in case. As I lay in bed, my mind was mulling over all the bad news I had just read. Is our country really going down the crapper? Are churches even safe anymore? Will the American church soon be persecuted? Why does anyone care about Dancing With The Stars?
Then I remembered my beloved catechism. This past Sunday was Lord's Day 10, my favorite. "What do you understand by the providence of God?" Answer: "Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God by which he upholds, as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that lead and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty—all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from his fatherly hand." I thought to myself, you know, that's right. Praise God that's right! God upholds the world with his hand and rules over us so that recessions and declensions, murders and mayhem, presidents and prime ministers, kids sleeping and kids rolling off their beds, the tragedies of life and the banalities--all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from his fatherly hand. God's seen this mess before. He sent it. He'll see us through us.
Around about 6:00 AM I fell back asleep, deeply grateful for the Heidelberg Catechism, the providence of God, and Cracklin Oat Bran.