God's Preserving and Governing Providence

John Frame's Systematic Theology, chapter 9

There is more to providence than control.

God governs things, which means He steers them toward a designed purpose and goal.  Providence should lead us to consider end times.  Not focusing on the order or timing of events, but on how we ought to live in light of the end.

God preserves His creation.
He sustains it in being generally, in Christ (Col 1:17).
He spares mankind from immediate judgment (Gen 2:17; 2 Peter 3:9), though the flood shows the limit of that patience.  The flood de-created the world: the divisions of sea, earth, and sky (Gen 1:3-13) were undone (Gen 7:11-12).
He blesses His Church, working all things together for our good.  The gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church.  This has a limit, like God's patience: believers are not kept from ALL harm ever, but in the end will be kept from all harm.
He preserves believers to the end.  If He begins a work in us, He finishes it (Philippians 1:6).

Providence is a kind of revelation by His Word, showing His wisdom and removing any excuse for our sin (Rom 1:20).  We can't read God's providence into the future, though.

God uses earthly causes to bring about His will.  He determines if a golf ball will go in the hole or not, and uses the golfer's muscles, swing, wind, etc. to bring that about.  Many say this makes God the author of sin, but that charge works when you assert any form of God's sovereignty.

God is the great story teller who writes the plot, though characters in the story "cause" things to happen.

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