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Friday, October 2, 2009

All Things?

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:8)

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thess. 5:18)

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:20)

Christianity stripped of the miraculous would be a pitiful thing. Yet it is easy to strip life of the miraculous by the unconscious assumption that God's hand works "out there" or only occasionally - we tend to dust off the doctrine of God's providence and use it when we are faced with a crisis of some type. But in the everyday, well, that's different.

Paul did not give us room to turn God's sovereignty on and off. What is it about "all things" that we don't understand? Beware of verse-drop - the phenomenon of verses dropping off the pages of one's Bible. Thomas Jefferson famously published his own version of the New Testament, with the miracles of Jesus removed. He felt that Jesus was a great teacher, but the miracles the Lord performed didn't fit with Jefferson's understanding of reality. So he simply dropped those verses from his edition of the Bible.

There is perhaps no more neglected doctrine in today's church than the doctrine of God's providence. Nor is there any subject with more potential to radically change the life of the individual believer. "Believer" - one who believes. Believes what? What would it mean to any of us if we could see God's hand in "all things?" Really see God's hand, that is?

For those whose vision is cleared, eternity has already begun. Maltbie Babcock was one of those. A baseball player of some renown, he became a minister of the gospel and penned the beloved hymn "This is My Father's World." The words of that hymn were part of his life message. It is said that he would sometimes depart from company with the words "Now I'm going out into my Father's world." Lawyers may especially appreciate the final stanza:

This is my Father's world / O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong /God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father's world / Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring / God reigns, let earth be glad.

Lord, give me eyes that I may see. I need the heavenly perspective. Lift me up this day from the mundane and the humdrum, or, better, let me see You in the midst of even the most inconsequential events. Teach me what Kingdom living is all about.

~ With thanks to Brent McBurney, Director of Attorney Ministries, Christian Legal Society

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