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God is in the detail

The devil is in the detail. How many times have we heard that idiom? It’s been said often because it’s often true.

But I reckon God is there too.

I worship a God that spoke the stars into being. He is the creator of the vast universe.

But this is the very God who also knows the number of hairs on my head, every knitted sinew and nerve in my body.

No detail is too small for Him to overlook. Nothing is too minor for Him to use to bring forth His purposes.

In the Book of Matthew, we’re told:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:29-31

The older I get, the more I realise it’s time to sweat the small stuff. Not only because it’s important, but because the small and ordinary is where you might encounter God at work in this world. That’s where you might see hope.

I love how God uses the insignificant to call people to Him.

My father’s friend came to know Jesus through a Korean persimmon tree. Every day after school, his friend would walk by and its fruit would look so delicious.

One day, he couldn’t stand the temptation any longer. He walked through the gates to steal one. And he was caught red-handed by the local priest. That persimmon tree was in a churchyard, you see.

It doesn’t take much to change a life sometimes.

The world can be a terrifying place. You see images of people fleeing bombs in Ukraine on the news. Sri Lanka is falling apart before our very eyes. Due to steep inflation, the pandemic, failed crops because of drought and other extreme weather, millions of children and families will be going to bed hungry tonight.

They are indeed big global problems.

Where is God in all this suffering? Had it not been for Jesus, who came to earth to suffer and die for our sake, it can seem like God is distant and indifferent to it all.

But as I observe the world around me, I have faith God is using the small and insignificant to call people to Him and to give us a small taste of His goodness.

As the Psalmist wrote all those years ago:

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8

I have the privilege to use words to tell stories for a wonderful international Christian aid agency. I see every day how He uses His people to bring hope and care in the most difficult places.

All it takes is one person to step out in faith to invest time and care in another for a child’s life, or the lives of their family, or even their community to be transformed.

It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. I’ve seen God use the small, consistent, ordinary care we extend to someone for His glory.

For me, the push to act recently came from a smartphone app notification. Just a couple of lines reminding me to send a gift to a young woman I sponsor through my workplace.

I sent a small amount, moved on to the next thing, and forgot about it.

Some time later, I received a letter from her thanking me for my gift. She was able to buy a textbook for her college course with it.

I was moved and grateful for her letter. And it made me extremely happy that she chose to invest in her education.

It was just two sentences from an App notification, but a young woman’s future just became that little bit brighter because of it.

The world is a broken and fallen place. But hope is in the details. I think God is at work within the details.

Even in asking for a drink of water.

Because who knew the simple act of going to draw water from a well could be so transformational for a woman, and bring her face to face with Jesus?

In the Gospel of John, it says in chapter 4:

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

John 4: 7-10

I guess what I’m trying to say in my rather confused way is that I’m grateful to see hope in the little things. Thankful to look at the ordinary detail of our lives and perhaps marvel at how God sometimes works out His purposes through our small decisions.

That is all.

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July 2022
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