If You Can Read This, It’s No Accident…

And yet, though our present views and reflections upon Providence are so short and imperfect in comparison to that in heaven, yet it has so much excellence and sweetness in it that I may call it a little heaven. It is certainly a highway of walking with God in this world, and a soul may enjoy as sweet communion with Him in His providences as in any of His ordinances. –John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence, 22

God’s providence is his sustaining and directing all things for his glory and our good. There are no accidents. Meditating on God’s providence in our lives is a sweet exercise that produces joy and thanksgiving.

If you can read this, in God’s Providence, you were either born in an English-speaking nation or have been able to learn English. Because we speak English, we have access to the Bible and the gospel. Many have never heard the gospel or God’s word because no translation exists in their tongue. How blessed we are to have God’s word in the English language.

English was the language of many of the Puritans and great Christian teachers. I have been blessed so much from reading works like The Precious Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel, Sin and Temptation by John Owen, The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. Not to mention works and messages by Charles Spurgeon, Thomas Watson, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards and others who wrote in English.

And think of all the contemporary preachers and teachers who write and speak in English who have benefitted our lives. I have been richly blessed by men like Tim Keller, John Piper, Jerry Bridges, R.C. Sproul, and many others. If God had seen fit in his providence to have me speak another language, I might not have had access to the works of these men.

Meditating on God’s providence in our lives is a sweet exercise that produces joy and thanksgiving

And how many wonderful hymns and worship songs have been written or translated into English. I’m sure there are multitudes of incredible spiritual books and songs written in other languages, but I’ve been blessed simply by virtue of being born in the good ol’ English speaking USA. It had nothing to do with me, obviously, since I did not plan my own life or place of birth. It’s simply God’s kindness. I love meditating on God’s providence in my life.

If you can read this, praise God for his providence that you were born in an English-speaking nation. And think of other ways you have benefitted from God’s providence – perhaps the family he had you born in, or the city. A teacher you had in second grade, or a Christian you met in college who influenced you. There are thousands of ways God has blessed each one of us, most of which we aren’t even conscious of. But the more reasons we can think of to praise him the more glory he receives and the more joy we experience.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

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