Providence, Rhode Island, Providence Hospital, the hand of Providence are just some of the ways the word providence intersects our culture. It is a familiar word that has lost its meaning. Today providence has been replaced by the word “news.” Webster’s Dictionary defines providence as: “God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny.” Western culture no longer sees God as the One who shapes and controls the events of each day. Today we call Providence, news.
This shift leads to public cynicism and discouragement. News stories are reported as random events. Paul reminded the pundits on Mars Hill that it is God who is in control of life’s events, even to the point of determining where each person lives. No such unifying truth is present in the 24/7 news cycle.
For example, the zika virus has migrated from Brazil to South Florida and beyond. It is an unpleasant disease with devastating impact on unborn babies. It is carried by mosquitoes. There are efforts being made to contain the virus. This is what is reported. There is no call for prayer or acknowledgment that God’s help is needed. Rather the “news” leaves a mood of uncertainty and fear. Experts ask questions that have to do with what governments can do to protect us.