If you are an Anne of Green Gables fan, you’ve heard the term
“providential” in several situations.
The time that stands out in my mind is when Marilla is thinking of bringing Anne back,
because she wanted a boy,
and Mrs. Spencer is letting her know Mrs. Blewett would surely take Anne,
because she has a lot of kids and needs help.
In walks Mrs. Blewett, whom Anne describes later as looking like a “gimlet.”
The friend sing-songs out,
“There’s Mrs. Blewett now. I call it positively providential.”
From the book,
“Marilla did not look as if she thought Providence had much to do with the matter.
Here was an unexpectedly good chance to get this unwelcome orphan off her hands,
and she did not even feel grateful for it.”
The Ingalls family, although we don’t know
exactly what they believed,
also recognized the providence of God in their lives.
When Ma and Pa are building their new home in Kansas,
and a log rolls onto Ma and only gives her a bad sprain,
Laura wrote p. 61,
“It was Providential that the foot was not crushed.
Only a little hallow in the ground had saved it.”
By calling it Providential, they are simply acknowledging that
God caused or allowed events and provisions in their lives.
Today, the majority of people now attribute circumstances
to karma, chance, luck, Mother Earth or any other being
they choose to worship instead of the Creator.
Contrast the dictionary entries for
our assignment for chapter five from the Prairie Primer.
This was snipped from Dictionary.com, our favorite online dictionary to use.
I am not pointing this out to discredit them,
but to show merely how times have changed.
Compare this to the online dictionary from the 1828 Noah Webster dictionary.
Of course, I keep this site on the heading of my Prairie Momma blog, in case you forget.
Saying something is Providential, doesn’t imply the person has
saving faith in the Lord Jesus,
they’re only acknowledging the God in Heaven.
Today people might say,
“God bless you!”
when you sneeze but they aren’t bestowing a true spiritual blessing on you.
People might say
when they escape being run over by a car,
but that doesn’t mean they are really bowing in thankfulness
in true humility before a Holy God.
When we study history, we might read true saving faith into someone’s life
only because they use the term Providential or acknowledge God.
Understanding the language patterns of the times
is the first step to discern if people from “The Olden Days,”
as my daughter likes to call it,
had true faith.
We combine what they say, how they lived and what they put their faith in
to try to discern if they were professors or believers,
just like today.
But, the ultimate decision of whether someone has saving faith in Jesus Christ,
is determined by the Lord God, who sees into the hearts.
It’s simply Providential.