Ronald Reagan on the Providence of God

I am sorry I haven’t been able to post much on preparing for the new year (definitely a very important productivity topic).

Perhaps the best inspiration for the new year, and best way to be equipped to navigate life well and handle whatever comes your way, is to have a good sense of Providence.

For this, as we enter into 2014, let me offer you a quote from what might first seem an unlikely source — Ronald Reagan. He seems like an unlikely source on this at first because he was not a preacher or pastor or other religious figure. However, he was a follower of Christ (as he stated on several occasions) and I would actually suggest that he is among the most qualified to speak from experience on God’s Providence, given the role he played in history and that, as he said often after the assassination attempt on his life, he consciously lived his life anew for God from that point on.

Here’s what he had to say in his autobiography:

I was raised to believe that God has a plan for everyone and that seemingly random twists of fate are all a part of His plan. My mother—a small woman with auburn hair and a sense of optimism that ran as deep as the cosmos—told me that everything in life happened for a purpose. She said all things were part of God’s Plan, even the most disheartening setbacks, and in the end, everything worked out for the best. If something went wrong, she said, you didn’t let it get you down: You stepped away from it, stepped over it, and moved on. Later on, she added, something good will happen and you’ll find yourself thinking—“If I hadn’t had that problem back then, then this better thing that did happen wouldn’t have happened to me.”

That’s an incredible thing to hear from an American president.

Religious leaders, it can often feel, are supposed to say these things. But Reagan didn’t have to. That’s what makes it stand out.

Here are some of the passages underpinning Reagan’s awesome, and correct, view of God’s involvement in human life:

…having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11).

For from him, and through him, and to him are all things (Romans 11:36).

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stop his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’ (Daniel 4:35).

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will (Proverbs 21:1).

The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).