Keep Your Universe Open

Our country has laws regulating the separation of Church and State.  But I am quite sure that there are no such laws separating God from His universe.  And yet, most Americans live as if there are such laws.  It is disturbing to witness the numbers of people who do profess some allegiance to God, but whose lives have little connection with Him.  I am talking about how our materialistic mindset has reduced and eliminated those regions of our lives in which God has the power to be involved with his creation.  We have created our own laws of separation.  We agree that God exists and may even give lip service to his being sovereign over all things.  But when it comes to the practical value of this truth it seems that our great God can no longer find access into our universe.  

Think about the world in which you live.  Here are just a few areas in which, for all practical purposes, our universe is closing.
The area of food:  A farmer looks to the right combination of irrigation systems, pesticide control and fertilizers to produce a bountiful crop.  And the consumer, after looking to his employer to provide the necessary funds, simply goes to the grocery store or restaurant to fill his appetite.   We know that in some ultimate sense, it is God who provides, but it has become difficult to see how He really had much to do with the extremely sophisticated process.
The area of health:  We are bombarded with information that tells us that good health is a delicate balance of good nutrition, regular exercise, and quality healthcare.  Increasing the length and quality of our lifespan has become some sort of equation with calculable results.  A very thin lifeline to God is maintained when by some fluke diet and medicine have already failed.  But on most days, we can do just fine without Him. 
The area of the environment:  We hear so much about Global Warming.  It is usually connected with how we are either causing it or what we can do to reduce its effects.  We are told that if we will just alter our lifestyles a bit we can actually “save the planet.”  Nowhere does it even seem to be considered that we could actually ask the God who created the planet in the first place to continue preserving His creation. 

The point is not to deny that we as humans have significant responsibilities in all of these areas.  We are called to take dominion over the creation.  I am thankful for fertilizers and pesticides.  I more or less try to maintain a healthy lifestyle and believe in going to the doctor with problems.  And I certainly agree that I should not be destructive to the world in which God has placed me to live.  But my universe is not closed.  I very much believe that there are no laws separating God from His creation.  He is actively involved in ensuring that I am fed.  He determines the quality of my health and length of my life.  And he is the One who will preserve this planet until it has served His purposes and will be replaced with a new one not tainted by my sin.

Rather than winding up the clock and letting it run, the God of the Bible is actively involved in every moment and detail of our personal lives as well as the greater preservation of the planet.  “Look at the birds of the air:  they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than then?” (Matt. 6:26)

One way in which we can acknowledge his connection with our lives is to regularly read and submit to his Word, the Bible.  In so doing we become more focused upon obeying His commands rather than shouldering the entire burden to care and provide for ourselves.  I fear that our advances have made us proud, and in the process, we have closed our universe to the God who is actually there.  Rather than seeing our continual need for Him in every aspect of our lives, we live in prideful and self-delusional independence.  For whether we admit it or not, we depend upon Jesus Christ for our every breath.  By living as if it were not so, we only incur his anger.  Oh, that we would humble ourselves before Him.  The Bible is clear, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible… And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:16a, 17)

Another way to concretely experience God’s active involvement in our world is prayer.  The fervent and faith-filled prayers in Jesus name do more to provide for our daily needs, promote our health, and save the environment, than working seven days a week, counting carbs, or driving a hybrid.  So the next time that society tries to place the load of the world squarely upon your shoulders, remember that the Universe is not closed.  Cast that burden on the shoulders of your actively involved and all-powerful God.  And smile at your neighbor and let them know that you are doing more than your part in saving the world.

Mike Thompson
Pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church