October 3, 1995
My father lamented that his advancing age made him unable to go to Scotland with us to the Leslie Clan Reunion last June. However, about two weeks after we returned, providence brought a little bit of Scotland to him.
One evening, my husband and I decided to run some errands. As we left our condominium complex, Bob spotted two men walking up the hill towards a small playground area. He said, “Would you look at that!” They were carrying bagpipes.
By the time we stopped and walked up the hill, they were facing each other, toes tapping and playing their pipes. We waited until they finished, then told them about our trip and my dad. I asked if they would like to give an old Scot a real thrill. They obliged and in a few minutes my parents enjoyed bagpipe music under their bedroom window.
Some people would say it was a remarkable coincidence — which it was. Who ever “happens upon” pipers in a city the size of Edmonton? However, it was also an example of the loving providence of God. He knows my dad’s heart for the pipes and He knows how to let an elderly man know that He loves him and wants him to enjoy his old age.
Job, a familiar Old Testament character, said: “You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.”
God sometimes uses strange means to show kindness and demonstrate His care. Years ago in Banff, our youngest son, then a preschooler, followed a costumed character down the street. When he turned to come back to the family, he missed our location and became lost. We went the direction of the man in the costume not knowing Scott was going the other way.
In our search, we spotted a young man with orange hair done in a huge, curly Afro ball. We asked if he had seen a small, blond boy. He hadn’t, but took pity and started looking. He searched until he found him and returned him to us.
Another time, we were camping in Jasper and a black bear wandered into our site at night. The bear began rushing up to our tent, growling threats and terrifying our family. Within minutes, we were rescued by four men returning to an adjacent campsite. They had been drinking that evening, enough to be braver than we were, and chased the bear with rocks and loud threats of their own. Both incidents showed God’s providence.
The Psalms are filled with praises for the Lord’s loving nurture and protective care. He may use ordinary circumstances or situations some people call chance, fate or luck. In fact, the dictionary uses terms like that to define providence, but these concepts miss the biblical idea.
God’s providence is more like foresight and prudence. God sees the end from the beginning, just like the pilot of an airplane can see highway #2 from Edmonton to Calgary. He looks at what lies ahead and, in sovereign power, brings in other elements that suit His purposes. He can influence pipers to choose a playground to practice in at 7:00 p.m. on a certain night. He can influence an unconventional looking young man to search places that frantic parents do not think to look. He can also influence night time revelers to go back to their campsite just when they need to be there.
God can also use angels to protect His people. Some will scoff but those who experience unusual acts of divine care sometimes see no other explanation. Besides, who says angels wear halos and play harps? While I’m not suggesting they drink beer, but maybe they have orange hair and occasionally trade in their harps to play bagpipes.