I think there is a divine plan to reality. This is a direct consequence of my belief in determinism. You cannot believe in determinism and not believe in fate.
As to providence – that is the belief that the divine plan is for our (or my) good – I do not know about that. Sometimes I look at experience, at the way it batters us with suffering at the way life is an oscillation of good and bad, happy and sad, and I see that it seems to be designed in such a way as to produce enlightenment. That the fundamental structure of experience leads us to let go, to surrender.
That maybe it’s not that the divine plan is for us to get what we want, or even to be happy. But that the divine plan is for our surrender. On a deep level the divine plan is for our deaths.
In Buddhism enlightenment is the cessation of suffering. Nirvana is the blowing out of the candle. It is a kind of death. A death that involves forsaking our desires, forsaking our vain attempts to control reality.
I’ve studied and been a member of a number of faiths/religions. Christianity and Buddhism being the two main ones. Christianity has the same theme if you will. It is about dying to yourself, forsaking your desires and surrendering to God. It is the same thing as Buddhism except Buddhists call God nothing.
Even Islam has the same kernel. Islam’s fundamental concept is submission. If you are a Muslim you submit your will to Allah.
What ever you submit your will to it all bears the same fruit. Almost all of what we call bad in the world is caused by people striving to attain their will. Striving to get reality to conform to what they want. It seems to me that reality is constituted in such a way that if you strive to get what you want you will inevitably reach dissatisfaction. You will be constantly confronted with a dead end until you forsake your desire and walk the path which is no path which is acceptance which is surrender, release.