|hiking the Waihee Ridge Trail on our 10 year anniversary|
Kim and I have pondered on a couple occasions “What if our roles were reversed?” and I was the one with cancer and she was forced to write and share prayer requests. Well, we concluded this blog wouldn’t exist because she doesn’t think she could write it and I’m convinced we wouldn't need it because she could just pick up the phone and call all 9 of my friends. (just kidding…sort of)
Anyways, I mention all this because when I set up the blog I had to come up with a URL address. I didn’t have much time to think about it and I considered generic ones like “prayersforkim.com” or something similar, but I quickly settled on “seeingjesusineverything”. I know it sounds a bit weird, for a website designed to solicit prayers for someone with cancer but over the course of the past year I felt the Lord was helping me to “see Jesus in everything” – whether it was in His Word, in His creation, in our circumstances – even in suffering.
Well, the blog has certainly lived up to its name. The LORD has shown up in a big way and revealed Himself in ways that we could have never even imagined when this whole thing started about two months ago. If you go to the “Answered Prayer” category HERE I think you’ll understand what I mean. I have never been more certain than now that God is real. God is everywhere. God is good. And His Son Jesus is alive – and can be seen in everything. Even in (and perhaps especially in) cancer. I’m not making this stuff up. The Bible actually tells us that Jesus is everywhere and can be seen in everything.
For from him [Jesus] and through him and to him are all things. -Romans 11:36
...all things were created through him [Jesus] and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."-Colossians 1:16
Those are some pretty bold statements. The Bible tells us that Jesus was not only eternal and pre-existent (Jn 1:1-3) but that He was the one that created everything we see in this universe AND (here’s the kicker!) everything he created in this universe was made for him.
Psalm 19:1-3 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day pours forth speech, night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.”
In other words, all that we see on earth and throughout the universe was designed by God to proclaim/declare/tell us something about God, in order to glorify God. Essentially, God is bearing witness to everyone and everything that He exists and that He is “eternal in his power and divine in his nature” (Rom 1:19-20). Therefore in a profound sense, all that we see in the physical world was created to direct us towards the spiritual realm – or God Himself. There is a fancy word theologians like to use for this called “general revelation”.
The apostle Paul wasn’t the only great theologian that believed this. Others like Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, etc, shared the same view and expressed the same idea.
Luther said, “God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees, and clouds and stars.” Calvin saw all of creation as a profound platform or “a dazzling theater” in which God displays His ineffable glory and His glorious works. C.S. Lewis wrote, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
Do you follow? While nothing can replace the propositional truths (spoken words) found in the gospel in leading us to eternal salvation (i.e. special revelation - Romans 10:17), God has revealed Himself through all of His creation to direct us towards the gospel and towards salvation – ultimately for His glory.
Let me give you an example. If Jesus created plants and seasons, then what were they created for? What were they meant to communicate to us? If you follow Luther’s quote then it’s very clear.
Have you ever noticed when a plant dies you can take its seed – which also appears dead - and bury it underneath the ground, and in due time, what was "dead" and buried erupts from the soil with new life and rises towards the sky?(see time lapse video below)
|early stages of growth|
|blooming (worshiping its Creator)!|
So why does a dead seed when buried in the ground, in due time, rise again with new life? Is this just a product of natural selection, chance or evolution at its finest? Or did Jesus create that plant and that process to tell us something about who He is and what He did?
Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” –John 12:23-24
What if the plants, seeds and seasons were not convenient metaphors Jesus pulled from "nature" to supplement His teaching. What if they were specifically created by Jesus, before time began, for the purpose of illustrating the profound truth of his resurrection and the new life we have in Him? (John 20, Rom 6:4-6)
Even the “great theologian” David Crowder (love him!) recognizes this profound metaphor in his song “Wholly Yours” (see vid below):
I am full of earth
You are heaven’s worth
I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity
You are everything that is bright and clean
The antonym of me
You are divinity
But a certain sign of grace is this
From a broken earth flowers come up
Pushing through the dirt
You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries “Holy, holy God”
You are holy, holy, holy
I wanna be holy like You are…
So, to sum this all up, If you believe that ALL things were created by God, for God (Col 1:16) then everything we see has value and importance in that it points us to God but it was not meant to be God – only God is the ultimate thing. That’s why it is foolish and wrong to worship “created” things rather than the “Creator” (Rom 1:24-25). Our hearts were meant to know, love and worship the ultimate – and until we do this we will always find ourselves restless and searching. But when we find that our created purpose in life is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever" I believe we will begin to “see Jesus in everything”.
In His Grace,
Peter & Kim