It was usually in response to a query about "why?" something or someone. It took me years to even begin to understand the implications of the question and its seemingly obvious answer.
It is the failure to see this reality that lies at the heart of much disagreement concerning spiritual realities in our world.
Some maintain that if God is so good, then why do children get abused, cancer patients die, disasters strike, or any of the myriad negatives used as an excuse to not believe.
It is also at the root of many of the disagreements among Christians.
Christians have fought for centuries over various sillinesses: water baptism, communion, rapture, worship, doctrine, faith, government, Bible translations, etc. These squabbles not only divide the Church, they give pre-believers fodder for their cannon to hurl worthless missiles at our faith.
In fact, there are probably some who are ready to pounce on the graphic I used to symbolize the theme of this article. [read "pre-emptive strike" here :-) ]
Before the reader thinks I've gone too far astray in the vanity of my own mind, let's consider a seldom-preached passage of Scripture from Colossians 1:16-20: For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (ESV)
If possible, try to remove the filter of all your teaching to this point, and simply read the passage without adding any exceptions or "balances" of other passages you may deem apropos. Don't just glance over this because you may think this is a familiar passage. I assure you, it is not.
How many times is the word "all" used? (FYI--the word "everything" in this passage also translates the same Greek word.)
I'm not a Greek scholar. I've taken enough courses in NT Greek to probably make me just a little dangerous. However, some things are simple enough for even a child to understand.
I have done a lot of research, staying up late and getting up early, trying to find all the possible nuances hidden in this little three-letter word.
What I have discovered may shock the average reader and challenge the average pastor/teacher.
"ALL" does not indicate, symbolize, mean, or otherwise connote "some." All simply means ALL.
So, I ask you--what is not God? What?
If this is the first time you have ever considered this, then your mind will probably do a "Beetlejuice" spin. Mine did, and I survived.
However, instead of trying to answer all the seemingly important questions about "this" or "that," let us consider how to apply this truth in our daily lives. After all, this is supposed to be "practical bible teaching."
If nothing else, this truth should help move one away from the pessimistic critical spirit we seem to be gifted with.
For the next week, try asking yourself this question when you encounter something that "goes against your grain:" Could that be God?
I would love to hear your comments on this article and any experiences you may have in light of this practice.