In commenting upon Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” Calvin writes
We must look to him with other eyes than those of the flesh, for we shall seldom be able to perceive him unless we elevate our minds above the world; and faith prevents us from turning our back upon him. The meaning, therefore, is, that David kept his mind so intently fixed upon the providence of God, as to be fully persuaded, that whenever any difficulty or distress should befall him, God would be always at hand to assist him. He adds, also, continually, to show us how he constantly depended upon the assistance of God, so that, amidst the various conflicts with which he was agitated, no fear of danger could make him turn his eyes to any other quarter than to God in search of succour. And thus we ought so to depend upon God as to continue to be fully persuaded of his being near to us, even when he seems to be removed to the greatest distance from us. When we shall have thus turned our eyes towards him, the masks and the vain illusions of this world will no longer deceive us.
This is an interesting thing: God is the context in which I understand the world and it’s dealings. He is not claiming an esoteric knowledge, because he is looking at world in terms of providence not a prophetic word. It is an interpretative presupposition through which to understand what is taking place.
This makes sense then of how we can continue to believe God is directing events even when God seems absent. If we begin with the presupposition of God’s Providence at all times, we can persist in the confidence even when things do seem lacking in control. It is a sort of mental habit.
This is not to say he is here denying the work of God for it is God who is acting through Providence and God maintains the discipline of the thought and its resulting effect, “he constantly depended upon the assistance of God.”