Have you ever been late to a meeting or an appointment, only to hit every single red light on the way? Or worse, get a flat tire?
Have you ever planned a much-needed date night with your spouse, only to have to cancel because the babysitter is sick?
Surely you’ve had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong—you get a stain on your favorite outfit, you get a notice from the preschool about a lice scare, your child comes home with a note from the teacher asking for twenty-four cupcakes for the next morning, and in the midst of the chaos, the dishwasher breaks?
We’ve all had annoying inconveniences in life. Those irritations that cut into the plans for our day. Those unexpected annoyances that seem to come out of nowhere. Those events that slow us down or put a stop to our plans for the day. Those circumstances that some people just call “bad luck.”
For the believer, there’s no such thing as bad luck. Everything comes to us from the hand of God. Even the little things.
God’s Providence Even over the Little Things
When we think about God’s Providence, we often think of His hand at work in the big events of our lives. But Scripture teaches that God works even in the seemingly small things. He has sovereign control over all His creation, from the small sparrow to the rain clouds, from the roll of the dice to the very hairs on our heads. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes.”1
He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow. (Ps. 147:16–18)
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matt. 10:29–30)
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. (Prov. 16:33)
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Prov. 16:9)
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, 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. (Ps. 139:7–10)
What This Means for the Irritations in Our Days
So what should we think about those irritating interruptions in our day? How should we look at those moments that seemingly come out of nowhere—like a flat tire on the way to work, or the child who comes down sick just as we’ve checked into our hotel on vacation, or the dryer that breaks when we’ve got a line of five loads waiting?
First, even in those moments, we have to remind ourselves that God is not surprised. There is nothing that takes place in this world without His notice. Just as He knows about the big events of our lives, He knows about the small events as well. He not only knows about them, He ordained them. He brought those circumstances into our lives. While we may be surprised about the unexpected events of our day, God is never surprised.
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” (Deut. 32:4)
No matter how inconvenient, irritating, or seemingly unlucky the events of our day, our good God gave them to us. And because He is good, we can trust that the circumstances, while not good in and of themselves, are for our ultimate good (Rom. 8:28–29).
We can then look at those events as opportunities. Rather than seeing them as obstacles to get around, we can instead see them as divinely placed opportunities for us to learn, grow, and mature in our faith and Christlikeness. Inconvenient and irritating situations give us the opportunity to trust in God’s goodness and to rest in his sovereign care for us. They give us the opportunity to practice obedience as we put to death our sinful responses to irritating circumstances. They give us the opportunity to glorify God when it’s not easy to do so, pointing others to the greatness of our God in the process. And as we see God’s hand at work in even the small events of our day, the more we will grow in our love for the One who watches over and works through all the details of our lives.
So, the next time your car breaks down on the way to work or you wake up to a pipe leaking in the bathroom, remember your sovereign God. He is not surprised. And because He is not, you can trust that all the irritations of your day will be used for your good and His glory.
1 C.H. Spurgeon, “God’s Providence,” Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume 54: 1908, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, accessed August 15, 2019, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons54.xlii.html.