#ThinkingTuesday – Change your thinking; Change your life.
We start of today’s post with a quote from Hannah Whitall Smith in Chapter 8 of her book “The Christian’s Secret Of A Happy Life”:
“One of the greatest obstacles to living unwaveringly this life of entire surrender is the difficulty of seeing God in everything… For nearly everything in life comes to us through human instrumentalities, and most of our trials are the result of somebody’s failure, or ignorance, or carelessness, or sin. We know God cannot be the author of these things…”
My question to you is, if God cannot be the author of these things, how then can we see Him in everything?
Well, today, that’s exactly what we’re thinking about — seeing God in everything.
We must understand that seeing God in everything is not about going overboard by adding “God willing” after every sentence: “I am going to the store later, God willing.” “We should sit down and have a cup of coffee sometime, God willing.” Or “God willing, I am going to put up a new deck in the spring.”
This sort of thinking breaks the Third Commandment: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain” (Exodus. 20:7). One of the definitions of vain is “to no useful purpose.” When God’s name is constantly used in casual conversation, it is being taken in vain.
The person who constantly mentions God in conversation is in effect saying, “See how godly I am?” or “See how religious I am?” By attempting to include God in everything he does, such a person is actually diminishing God’s role in events. This mentality isn’t seeing God in everything, instead it is being ignorant of the fact that we are free moral beings who still choose to do a lot of things, whether it’s God’s will or not.
Another mistake we often make when we try to see “God” in everything is that we blame satan for bad occurrences, without realising that just as God does not orchestrate every event in our lives, satan is not behind every bad occurrence.
Would we conclude that if a person slips and injures himself tripping on a toy his/her child left on the floor then Satan is behind the event? No!
We cannot blame the devil for situations we bring upon ourselves. While Satan fulfills the role of “tempter” (Matthew 4:3), God has limited him so he cannot force us to sin. The devil relies on situations, circumstances and human nature to tempt people to sin. He may cause circumstances or situations to lead us to compromise our beliefs, but the choice to sin or not to sin is ours alone. So when bad things happen to us by our own doing, and we say — well God’s in charge so He must want me to be in this mess, we’ve completely missed the point.
If we try to see God in everything with our physical and fleshly eyes, we’ll stress ourselves big time! For example, a man of this mindset has a flat tire during his drive to work. Afterward, he decides it was God’s will and tries to find the “hidden” purpose behind the event — when, in actuality, the man simply neglected to check the air pressure in his tires! There’s nothing hidden about that. Most times God is working things that we can’t see right away, so stressing ourselves to make sense of issues immediately under the guise of “seeing God in everything” will only exhaust us even more.
We must have faith and open our minds spiritually if we want to see God in all things. I see God a lot in nature,
yes! with my physical eyes, but not until I open my mind and heart to the beauty of God’s creation can I truly experience the wonder of what I’m looking at. You stare at a lion, sure it’s a magnificent creature, but when you understand God as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, you’ll appreciate the ordinary lion you’re staring at even more.
God is in everything, particularly the little things. We know God spoke to Elijah not in the mighty wind but in the small whisper. God can send a child with a message to you and if your heart isn’t open, you will perceive what God has destined to be extraordinary as ordinary. So brethren, see God in all things, both big and small. See God in the biggest calamities and in the smallest of matters. Ask His guidance for all things (whether it’s buying a house or choosing which school to go) but don’t try to see God so much that you neglect your personal responsibilities and become self-righteous. There’s always a line between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.
I end this post with a short poem by George Herbert, one of the great christian poets of the 17th century, as read by Elizabeth Elliot and I would encourage us all to memorise this and pray it everyday.
Teach me, my God & King
In all things, thee to see
And what I do in anything
To do it, as for thee