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  • Writer's pictureHoward Thompson

Beyond Luck: Embracing Divine Providence


When I hear someone wish another ‘good luck’ or refer to another simply as ‘lucky,’ I am reminded of how much I don’t like that word. You see, ‘luck’ suggests a randomness to the physical world that my faith in the Lord and belief in how He influences this world do not allow me to accept.

In his writings for the New Church, Emanuel Swedenborg explained, Divine Providence is the form of government exercised by the Lord's Divine Love and Wisdom, ensuring the harmonious interplay between creation and the divine, with all things in the universe serving as vessels of love and wisdom.

According to Swedenborg, Divine Providence is a constant, subtle, and often invisible force that orchestrates events and circumstances to lead individuals towards spiritual growth and happiness, while respecting human freedom. "Divine Providence is constantly leading us in our freedom, and to us it seems as though this freedom were our own," he wrote.

Swedenborg believed that human freedom and rationality are essential for spiritual growth, allowing individuals to make choices, learn from experiences, and develop a genuine love for goodness and truth. Divine Providence works behind the scenes, guiding people towards spiritual development while allowing them the liberty to make their own decisions.

Reflecting on the nature of human prudence, Swedenborg noted, "Our prudence is constantly trying to raise its head and divine providence is constantly trying to push it down." Were we to to become aware of the force of Divine Providence we would be outraged and reject God causing spiritual death. This is why the Lord said; "yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Swedenborg also emphasised the added benefit of accepting and embracing an understanding of Divine Providence, which is peace. "Peace holds within itself trust in the Lord, the trust that He governs all things and provides all things, and that He leads towards an end that is good. When a person believes these things about Him, he is at peace," he wrote in Arcana Coelestia 8455.

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