For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11: 36

 

All is a really big word. Those three letters carry with them a wide range of inclusion. Although we often say “all” when indicating that something is exceptionally expansive, we seldom actually mean it. For example, “All you can eat” rarely means exactly that, for there are limits that the restaurant has established in order to survive. Yet when God inspired Paul to say “all”, I believe that He absolutely meant it. He is saying that there is nothing that we can touch, see, hear, or experience that does not have its origin and its terminus in God. Our world is populated and furnished by the hand and by the word of God. Also, all of God’s workmanship is intended to be dedicated and committed to Him. It is all, this includes people too, here to bring glory to the name of the Lord.

 

This idea is troubled by all of the sadness, loss, oppression, disease, death, and hatred that we run smack into as we live in our world. No one can escape the pain, hurt, and frustration that life will without exception provide. So, how does all of this come from a God who is loving and caring, the perfect Father? Where does brokenness fit into the handiwork of the Great Creator? How does suffering allow us to have the ability to sing songs of praise to the glory of God? These are among the questions that must trouble the hearts and the minds of all people. The way that life goes is hard to understand, and God can seem to be far away and uninvolved when evil rules those days. Yet, Paul says, “All”, and he ascribes to God the glory for it all.

 

In order to make sense of it, we need to do some spiritual time traveling. We need to look at the two ends of the great story of Creation that God has given to us in His Word. There was a point when God brought our world into existence in which He proclaimed that it was good. Everything that He made was perfect and without the damage that sin causes. There is also a promised and foretold time to come when Christ will reclaim all of Creation from the Satan’s destructive influence and presence; so, that original perfection will be restored to all. We live in the time that is between these two great epochs. Living in these days requires people to have faith in God. We also need to allow that faith to bring us to a place where we trust Him completely and with all things. Faith and trust lead us to hope and to obedience. These should lead God’s people to a place in life where we desire to bring glory to His name by living in a manner that is righteously and graciously redemptive in all aspects of our daily lives.