Imagine taking the stage to act in a play without knowing what the play itself is about, without even knowing your part. It would be a disaster! But many Christians assume that if they love the lead Actor enough, everything else will fall into place. We have a role in history, and we need to know our lines. By understanding the play, as we discussed above, we gain insight into where it is going. By understanding that God has a purpose for us as individually and by devoting ourselves to it, we gain insight into where to go. God accomplishes His purpose in "History" by providentially superintending His creation. This is called the Providential view of history and it was the predominant view of Christians from all ages, including our American founders. Noah Webster, the great educator and lexicographer, who complied the first American dictionary in 1828, defined providence as:
The care and superintendence which God exercises over creatures.... Some persons admit a general providence, but deny a particular providence, not considering that a general providence consists of particulars. A brief in divine providence is a source of great consolation to good men. By divine providence is understood God Himself.
As you might have surmised, Noah Webster was a devout Christian holding to the Providential view of history. Note that in his definition of providence, Webster said that it is a "source of great consolation to good men." In this statement, he alluded to the peace that comes from knowing that a just God presides over the nations and that His plan cannot be thwarted. The opposite is also true. If one is fighting the God of History and then learns of His Providence, it can be very disconcerting!
[Read the rest of the article at World History Institute.]