I found a poignant example of Paul alluding to Divine Providence in Philemon 15. There’s no chapter numbers because the book is so short. Paul is talking about why Onesimus (the slave) was away from Philemon (the owner) for so long. Onenismus had escaped, but that’s not our concern here. The point is that Paul says, “Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother.” (Phil 15-16) Why do I think this is a big deal? Paul is making a really transparent allusion to the fact that he thinks God himself caused Onesimus to be away from Philemon. God was involved in the situation. The circumstances have a meaning and a purpose behind and beneath them. God was at work to change Philemon’s life for the better.
I think it’s really easy to see tons of circumstances and situations and never connect them to the fact that God is actually working in this world. (Aslan is on the move!) He’s changing things and people. He’s converting people and blessing people, healing and teaching people. God himself is bringing the world to himself through his Son Jesus. Yet much of the time, we cannot see God’s hand at work until after the fact. We look back on an event or a circumstance and realize that he was working and changing things and people without us even noticing in the process. Our God does not sit up in the cosmos and ignore what goes on down here. He is present and ready in every situation to bring grace and help and blessing where there is none.