For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. I Timothy 4:4-5
Do you really believe that? Everything created by God is good? What about earthquakes and tsunamis and floods? What about a nasty virus or bacteria that can spread through a poor nation who doesn’t have clean water or medicines? Tough questions. If you believe God is Sovereign – that He reigns over all creation and is not just a Heavenly clockmaker who wound it all up and set things in motion then walked away, then you have to also believe that He has caused these things. But how can it be good?
What Paul wrote to Timothy gives us a clue. We, as believers, must receive whatever happens as having purpose, and must receive it with thanksgiving. Why? Because it flips our attitudes to becoming once again reliant upon God. Thanksgiving is more than a wimpy thank you. It is an attitude of gratitude, of looking at things in a positive light no matter how dim the moment seems.
But, we must realize that us humans can get into the situation and taint it with sin. Our anger, greed, lust and envy can change good into evil. If we let that humanness roar in us, Satan will use it to create havoc. A drunk driver hits a child. A deceitful landlord chooses not to remove the mold which makes his tenants ill. Greedy governments stop the flow of emergency goods and food to their people. I miss an opportunity to spread the love of Christ by looking the other way and walking by a beggar.
If we can change our attitude to view everything with thanksgiving and see it as holy through prayer and reading His word, then our attitudes can change about the situation we are in, or others we pray for in a given circumstance. Prayer is the conduit that brings the Divine into the mundane just like you must plug something into the wall before it will work.
Not an easy thing to do, is it? But it is worth the effort to try. The more we try, the more it then becomes a part of our nature to receive everything and every day as a good gift from the Lord who loves us more deeply than we can imagine. Then we can begin to think like Paul-
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)