Archive for June, 2007

“ALL Things?”

June 8, 2007

It always starts the same way. “Mom, you should try this!” . . . (this food, this game, this book, this enormously incredibly very high water slide) . . . and then I try it and I’m glad I listened (except for sushi). Years ago they said, “Mom you need an email address. . . so then they got me one . . . and I’m glad I listened to them. Another time I was told, “Mom, you should try Starbucks!” . . . they sort of regret that one. Now it’s, “Mom, you need a blog!” So . . . they set one up, slapped my favorite snapshot on the front of it and said, “Write!”. . .

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

I actually didn’t write that. But, since God has been trying to teach me about this kingdom principle for some time (which is a nice way of saying ‘a long time’), it’s what’s on my mind. The truth is that one word in this verse keeps tripping me up. It’s the word ‘all’. Does all really mean “all”? In the dictionary the word all means: everything, all inclusive, nothing left out , which is what I thought. God could have chosen to use any word He wanted to in that spot, but He said all! He could have said, “most things”, or “some things”, or “pretty much everything”, but He said all things. When I say all of the time, I usually mean all of the time except if some unexpected thing happens, in which case, I now mean not all of the time but most of the time. But there is no ‘unexpected thing’ for God. So, it just means all: everything, all inclusive, nothing left out. I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that God just says exactly what He means to say. All things work together for good . . . it just means that anything that happens to us, whether we can totally comprehend it at the time or not, can potentially, in His hands, result in something that He calls good.

In A Tale of Three Kings, Gene Edwards describes King David’s childhood. As the youngest male, he was given the job of tending the family’s sheep, which required days, sometimes even weeks alone on a hillside away from home. Time to practice his music, his rock slinging, his leadership skills (albeit with sheep) and intimacy with God. All things which God knew David would need to fulfill his destiny. There must have been days when David felt forgotten as he worked alone – no one to talk to for extended periods – feeling no sense of greatness in his future. But God was working out ‘all things’.

Joseph was raised as the favorite of 12 sons. Showered with favor (and a techni-color coat), he never had to work or shoulder his load, as his brothers had always been expected to do. He was snatched from easy street, sold into slavery, falsely accused, thrown into prison, and then left there for what seemed to be waaaaaay too long for anything good to come of it. Talk about feeling forgotten! I think it would have been difficult for Joseph to believe that his future held any “greatness” after 13 years in a dungeon. But God knew what was required to change a spoiled son into a man of greatness and leadership, which was Joseph’s destiny from before the foundation of the world!

As off the chart as those situations were, we believe them because now we see the whole picture in its entirety. It’s easy to see, now, how God carefully (not randomly or forgetfully) orchestrated all things in their lives in order to cultivate holiness in his servants and for them to walk in ALL that He had planned for them.

Now comes the hard part. What does it take for us to see our lives with those kind of eyes? How do we learn to trust God to use all things in our life for His purpose? And, what falls in the category of “all things”? Does losing your job qualify as “all things”? What about a difficult illness or a drug problem? What about abundance? What about lack? What about surviving abuse or losing a child or divorce or running out of gas? What if two computers, one laptop, one TV, and your car battery all die in a three day period? (last week – not kidding) Will God cause all of these things to work together for good? Well, it’s that or He’s forgotten me. (I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua1:5). Is He working out all things or does He just not care? (I have loved you with an everlasting, unending love. Jeremiah 31:3) . Is he orchestrating “all things” in my life, or is everything just dumb luck with no plan? (I know the plans I have for you . . . to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11) Hmmmm. . . I may not be able to wrap my brain around why God allowed all of the brokenness from last week (electronically speaking), or why He’s allowed any other less-than-pleasant thing into my life, but I can ask Him to teach me to trust that He knows what He’s doing with all things! 🙂