Laurel Camp Theme: Providence

From Rev. Solomon Keal, Assistant to the Pastor
April 10, 2018

The theme for Laurel Camp this summer is “Providence.” “God will provide.” (Genesis 22:8) The Lord didn’t wind up the universe and just let it go. He is constantly taking care of us, and providing what we need to find eternal happiness. But the way that He does that is not always obvious, especially in the face of challenges and pain. The cover of the New Century Edition of Swedenborg’s book Divine Providence has a picture of the earth being held in the Lord’s two hands, and it reminds me of the song I’m sure we’ll sing at camp this summer: “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” But from the perspective of one tiny human on that world, it can be hard to see those hands. Providence is sometimes described as a kind of stream or current. “As much as we are in the stream of providence, that much we are in a state of peace.” (Arcana Caelestia 8478.4) “Peace has in it confidence in the Lord, that He directs all things, and provides all things, and that He leads to a good end.” (AC 8455) So how do we find that stream of providence in our lives? The Lord provides us with a number of spiritual “gifts” such as: freedom, the ability to change, the ability to love, moments of inspiration, and even trust in the face of uncertainty. And even though some things seem like “luck,” or “coincidence,” the Lord’s providence is in the smallest of things. So what does that mean about things that seem like “bad luck?” The Lord foresees and even permits evil, but He always and only provides what is good. “If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:8-10) Divine Providence is something we usually only notice in hindsight: “We are allowed to see divine providence from behind but not face to face, when we are in a spiritual state.” (DP 187) But when we can catch a glimpse of it, or feel carried by the current, or held in His hands, we can feel comforted: “’Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:21) “Through His divine providence, God is taking care of everything.” (Divine Providence 207) Laurel Camp is July 15-21 this summer. Visit for more information.

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