All Means All
The months of January and February have been in a word: HARD. 2019 came in like a tornado and I feel I haven't completely had the chance to recover from the onslaught of the storms that have come our way. In these first 2 months of the new year we've had lice in our home, 4 different bouts with illnesses, medical hardships with a family member, news that some of our plans and hopes for this year were not in God's timing, long work days, homework overload, and on and on the list could go. The year is not off to the rosy picture my Pollyanna-ish mind had imagined for 2019.
On January 27th, our Pastor preached a sermon that I am certain I will never forget for the rest of my life. (I HIGHLY recommend you take the time to watch or listen to it: here.) This was the closing verse that day:
And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
I haven't been able to stop thinking about these words over the last month. In the midst of the hardships, trials, and disappointments the first months of this year have presented, I have been continually meditating on, he has done all things well. This is important because if he has done all things well, then this means he is currently doing all things well. Even in the ugly and hard moments, he is doing all things well. He is sovereignly working all things out for my good and his glory (Romans 8:28).
Three days after my Pastor preached that sermon, and I had been meditating on "he does all things well," I came across this verse in my Bible reading.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
I was suddenly reminded of something Amy Carmichael wrote regarding this verse in one of her devotionals, You Are My Hiding Place:
"All does not mean 'all – except the paths I am walking in now,' or 'nearly all – except this especially difficult and painful path.' All must mean all.
So, your path with its unexplained sorrow or turmoil, and mine with its sharp flints and briers- and both our paths, with their unexplained perplexity, their sheer mystery – they are His paths, on which He will show himself loving and faithful. Nothing else; nothing less."
- Amy Carmichael (emphasis mine)
It's important to note that both in Romans 8:28 and Psalm 25:10, there are conditional clauses. Romans 8:28 ends with, "...for those who are called according to his purpose," and Psalm 25:10 ends with, "...for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies." These statements of hope and promise are not just for everyone and anyone but rather, they are specifically for those who are in the family of God. They are for those who, by grace through faith, have been called children of God.
If indeed you are his child, what hope! What comfort! What peace! He has done all things well and every single path he walks you down is steadfast love and faithfulness.
Maybe the year is off to a rocky start for you too. Maybe you are dealing with disappointments, hurt, trials, burdens, or illness. I love Amy's words, "all means all." May you, and I, never forget that he has done all things well. May these words anchor us, steady us, and give us confidant assurance that our sovereign God is actively and intricately involved in every aspect of our lives. May this motivate us to live lives that are productive for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, no matter how hard any given season of life may be.
I know I'll be clinging to these words of hope and promise for the rest of 2019. I hope you do too.