When people tell their faith stories, they always talk about the individuals they believe God put in their paths. You hear things like: “Then I met this couple.” “Then I ran into an old friend from college.” “A guy at work invited me to church.” “A lady I barely knew said she had heard about my circumstances and asked how she could help.” “One afternoon my boss called me into his office.” We believe every faith story has a relational component at some point. There’s always mention of that guy, that couple, that neighbor I barely knew.
We call these providential relationships because when people tell their stories, they are convinced God providentially brought these individuals or couples into their lives. Encounters that initially appeared accidental or random are eventually viewed as divine appointments. As you’re reading this, I bet you can think of that person, couple, or perhaps group God brought along at just the right time. And if you are like most people, this is not a one-time occurrence. At critical junctures in our faith journeys, there are individuals whose paths intersect with ours. In some cases, long-term relationships are formed. On other occasions, the relationships are only for a short time. But in either case, there is no doubt in our minds that the encounters were providential.
Two things make a relationship providential: when we hear from God through someone and when we see God in someone. When either of those things happens, our faith gets bigger. Isn’t it true that when we see God’s faithfulness in someone else’s life, it is easier to trust him with ours? That’s the power of a divinely ordained relationship.