Just as a branch cannot produce fruit by itself, unless it remains on the vine, neither can you, unless you remain in me. . . . You can do nothing without me. (John 15: 4-5)
268 The Lord's divine provision deals with every little detail of our lives. This is because there is only one wellspring of life--the Lord--and our existence, life, and actions come from him.
269 If we think materialistically about this divine provision, we will conclude that it only deals with the overall picture, while we take care of the details. This just shows how little we know about spiritual things. This conclusion comes only from our selfish and materialistic loves, and the pleasure we get from them.
So if we see harmful people enjoying higher status and more wealth than good people, and if we also see these harmful people gaining success through unethical practices, we say in our hearts that this must mean the divine provision does not apply to every single thing. However, we would be forgetting that the divine provision is not concerned with things that only last a short while, and come to an end when our life in the world is over. No, the Lord is concerned with things that last forever--things that have no end.
Things that never end really exist. Compared to them, things that come to an end do not really exist. Consider, if you can, whether even a hundred thousand years means anything compared to eternity. You have to admit, it does not. So how important ar e the few years we live on earth?
270 If you think it out sensibly, you can see that status and wealth in the world are not real divine gifts, even though we may call them that because of the pleasure they give us. These things do not last, and meanwhile we get carried away by them so that we turn away from heaven. But eternal life and the happiness that comes with it are real gifts from the divine. The Lord taught this in Luke:
Provide secure wealth for yourselves in heaven, where thieves will not steal it and moths will not destroy it. Wherever your wealth is, your heart will be there also. (12:33-34)
271 Harmful people can gain success through unethical practices because the divine plan is that everything we do should come from our rational thought, and should be done in freedom. So if we were not allowed to do things in freedom, according to our rational thought, and to succeed by carrying out the plans we come up with in this way, we could never become prepared to accept eternal life. Eternal life slips into us when we are free and can think clearly.
No one can be forced to be good. Things that are forced on us do not stay with us, because they do not come from ourselves. Anything we do in freedom, according to our rational thought, does become a part of us. We do things in freedom when they come from our motivation or love, which is our real self. If we are forced to do things we do not want to do, our mind always leans toward things we do want to do. Besides, we always want to do anything we are not allowed to, because we all have a hidd en desire to be free.
So you can see that unless we are kept in freedom, good things cannot be provided for us.
272 When we are also given the freedom to think, want, and even do harmful things (if the law does not prevent us) it is called toleration.
273 When we gain the good things of material life through unethical practices, it seems to us to be our own good sense at work. However, the divine provision is constantly with us, tolerating the harmful things and constantly leading us away from them .
When we gain the good things of heaven, we know and feel that they do not come from our own good sense, because they come from the Lord. We gain them because his divine provision prepares us and constantly leads us toward good things.
274 No one can grasp the truth of this from material light, since we do not learn the laws of the divine plan from that light.
275 You should realize that some things are provided, and others are foreseen. The Lord provides for good things but foresees harmful things. The two have to be together, since everything that comes from ourselves is completely harmful but everything that comes from the Lord is completely good.
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