God in Everything

Matthew 11:26  •  12 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"Even so Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight." MATTHEW. 11:26.
One of the great obstacles to living a life of peace and rest, is the difficulty of seeing God in everything. People say, " I can easily submit to things which come from God; but I cannot submit to man, and most of my trials and crosses come through human instrumentality." Or they say, "It is all well enough to talk of trusting; but when I commit a matter to God, man is sure to come in and disarrange it all, and while I have no difficulty in trusting God, I see serious difficulties in the: way of trusting men."
This is no imaginary trouble, but it is of vital importance, and if it cannot be met, does seem to make the path of faith an impossible and visionary theory. For nearly everything in this life comes to us through human instrumentalities, and many 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, and yet unless He overrules the matter, how can we say to Him about it, "Thy will be done?"
Moreover, things in which we can see God's hand always have a sweetness in them which consoles while it wounds. But the trials inflicted by man are full of bitterness.
What is needed, then, is to see God in everything, and to receive everything directly from His hands, with no intervention of second causes.
The question here confronts us at once-But is. God in everything, and have we any warrant from the Scripture for receiving everything from His hands, without regarding the second causes which may have been instrumental in bringing it about? I answer to this, unhesitatingly, YES! To the children of God everything comes directly from their Father's band, no matter who or what may have been the apparent agents. There are no "second causes for them.
The whole teaching of Scripture asserts and implies this. "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Matt. 10:29-3029Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:29‑30).) We are not to be careful about anything, because our Father cares for us. We are not to avenge ourselves, because our Father has charged Himself with our defense. We are not to fear, for the Lord' is on our side. No one can be against us, because God is for us. We shall not want for the Lord is our Shepherd. When we pass through the rivers they shall not overflow us, and when we walk through the fire we shall not be burned, because He will be with us. He shuts the mouths of lions, that they cannot hurt us. " He delivereth and rescueth. He changeth the times and the seasons; He removeth kings and setteth up kings." (Dan. 2:2121And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Daniel 2:21).) (2 Chron. 20:66And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? (2 Chronicles 20:6).) " He ruleth the raging of the sea; when the waves thereof arise He stilleth them." He " bringeth the counsel of the heathen to naught! He maketh the devices of the people of none effect." (Psa. 33:1010The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. (Psalm 33:10).) " Whatsoever the Lord pleaseth, that does He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places."
And this " God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." (Ps. 1, 2, 3.)
To my own mind, these Scriptures, and many others like them, settle forever the question as to the power of second causes in the life of the children of God. And this is how the blessed Lord took things. (Matt. 11:20, 25, 2620Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: (Matthew 11:20)
25At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Matthew 11:25‑26)
.) They are all under the control of our Father, and nothing can touch us except with His knowledge, and by His permission. It may be the sin of man that originates the action, and therefore the thing itself cannot be said to be the will of God: but by the time it reaches us, it has become God's will for us, and must be accepted as directly from His hands. No man or company of men, no power in earth or heaven, can touch that soul which is abiding in Christ, without first passing through Him, and receiving the seal of His permission. If " God be for us," it matters not who may be against us; nothing can disturb or harm us, except He shall see that it is best for us, and shall stand aside to let it pass.
An earthly parent's care for his helpless child is a feeble illustration of this. If the child is in its father's arms, nothing can touch it without that father's consent, unless he is too weak to prevent it. And even if this should be the case, he suffers the harm first in his own person, before he allows it to reach his child. And if an earthly parent would thus care for his little helpless one, how much more will our Heavenly Father, whose love is infinitely greater, and whose strength and wisdom can never be baffled? I am afraid there are some, even of God's own children, who scarcely think He is equal to themselves in tenderness, and love, and thoughtful care; and who, in their secret thoughts, charge Him with a neglect and indifference of which they would feel themselves incapable.
The truth really is, that His care is infinitely superior to any possibilities of human care; and that He who counts the very hairs of our heads, and suffers not a sparrow to fall without Him, takes note of the minutest matters that can affect the lives of His children, and regulates them all according to His will, let their origin be what they may.
The instances of this are numberless. Take Joseph. What could have seemed more apparently on the face of it to be the result of sin, and utterly contrary to the will of God, than his being sold into slavery? And yet Joseph in speaking of it said,— "As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good." (Gen. 1:2020And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (Genesis 1:20).) Now, therefore, be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither, for God did send me before, you to preserve life. (Gen. 15:55And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. (Genesis 15:5).) To the eye of sense it was surely Joseph's wicked brethren who had sent him into Egypt, and yet Joseph, looking at it with the eye of faith, could say, " God sent me." It had been undoubtedly a grievous sin in his brethren, but by the time it had reached Joseph, it had become God's will for him, and was in truth, though at first it did not look so, the greatest blessing of his whole life. And thus we see how the Lord can make even the wrath of man to praise Him, (Psa. 76:1010Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. (Psalm 76:10).) and how all things, even the sins of others, shall work together for good to them that love Him. (Rom. 8:2828And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).)
If we look at the seen things, we shall not be able to understand this. But the children of God are called to look " not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Cor 4:18.) Could we but see with our bodily eyes His unseen forces surrounding us on every side, we would walk through this world in an impregnable fortress, which nothing could ever overthrow or penetrate, for "the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.". (Psa. 34:77The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. (Psalm 34:7).)
We have a striking illustration of this in the history of Elisha. The King of Syria was warring against Israel, but his evil designs were continually frustrated by the prophet, and at last he sent his army to the prophet's own city for the express purpose of taking him captive. We read, " He sent thither horses, and chariots, and a great host.; and they came by night, and compassed the city about." This was the seen thing. And the servant of the prophet, whose eyes had not yet been opened to see the unseen things, was alarmed. And we read, " And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold an host encompassed the city, both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, "Alas, my master I how shall we do!" But his master could see the unseen things, and he replied, " Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." And then he prayed, saying, "Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." 2 Kings 6:14-1714Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. 15And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. (2 Kings 6:14‑17).
The presence of God is the fortress of His people. Nothing can withstand it. At His presence the wicked perish; the earth trembles; the hills melt like wax; the cities are broken down; "the heavens also dropped, and Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God." And in the secret of this presence He has promised to hide His people from the pride, of man, and from the strife of tongues, " My presence shall go with thee," He says, " and I will give thee rest." Ex. 33:1414And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. (Exodus 33:14).
I wish it were only possible to make every Christian see this truth as plainly as I see it. For I am convinced that this and being " careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus," (Phil. 4:6,76Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6‑7).) is the clue to a restful life. Nothing else will take all the risks and " supposes " out of a Christian's life, and enable him to say, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." Abiding in the light of God's presence we run no risks. And such a soul can triumphantly say—
"I know not what it is to doubt,
My heart is always gay;
I run no risks, for come what will,
God always has His way."
I once Neared of a poor colored woman, who earned a precarious living by daily labor, but who was a joyous triumphant Christian. " Ah, Nancy," said a gloomy Christian lady to her one day, who almost disapproved of her constant cheerfulness, and yet envied it,-" Ah, Nancy, it is all well enough to be happy now; but I should think the thoughts of your future would sober you. Only suppose, for instance, you should have a spell of sickness, and be unable to work; or suppose your present employers should move away, and no one else should give you anything to do; or suppose—" " top!" cried Nancy, I never supposes. De Lord is my Shepherd, and I know, I shall not want. And honey," she added to her gloomy friend, " its all dem supposes as is makin' you so mis ‘able. You'd better give dem all up, and, just trust do Lord."
There is one text that will take all the " supposes" out of a believer's life, if only it is received and acted on in childlike faith: it is Heb. 13:5,65Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:5‑6)," Be content, therefore, with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, THE, LORD IS MY HELPER AND I WILL NOT FEAR WHAT MAN SHALL DO UNTO ME." What if dangers of all sorts shall threaten you from every side, and the malice, or foolishness, or ignorance of men shall combine to do you harm? You may face every possible contingency with triumphant words, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." If the Lord is your helper, how can you fear what man may do unto you? There is no man in this world, nor company of men, that can touch you, unless your God in whom you trust shall please to let them. " He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and coming in, from this time forth, and even for evermore." Ps. 121:3, 7, 8.
Nothing else will completely put an end to all murmuring or rebelling thoughts. Christians often feel at liberty to murmur against man, when they would not dare to murmur against God. But this way of receiving things would make it impossible ever to murmur. If our Father permits a trial to come, it must be because that trial is the very best thing that could happen to us, and we must accept it with thanks from His hand. The trial itself may be hard to flesh and blood, and I do not mean that we can like or enjoy the suffering of it. But we can and must love the will of God in the trial, for His will is always sweet whether it be in joy or in sorrow.
In short, this way of seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving, and gives a rest of heart, and more than that, a joy that is unspeakable. Some one says, " God's will, on earth is always joy, always tranquility." And since He must have His own way concerning His children, into what wonderful green pastures of rest, and beside what blessedly still waters of refreshment is the soul led that learns this!
He who sides with the Lord cannot fail to win in every encounter I and whether the result shall be joy or sorrow, failure or success, death or life, we may, under all circumstances, join in, the Apostle's shout of victory, "'Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ!"
" If my soul has no home, my life as a Christian, however active, will not be happy. If my soul has a home in heaven to turn to, and really now in spirit enjoy, I shall not be restless and unhappy."