It’s not so prevalent yet, but I increasingly hear the phrase, “It’s a God thing.” It is said in response to some amazing providence from God, even a miracle. This saying seems to have gained traction in America and is being exported from their shore to ours.
I would be guilty of being pedantic, even grumpy, to criticise the excitement which lies behind this expression. It iswonderful when we or those we love, receive a favourable providence from God. What a joy when God answers prayer and what a thrill when our paths are made plain (Proverbs 3:5–6). When we experience or observe a miracle, well, truly we are right to proclaim that this “is a God thing!” But I want to helpfully point out that actually, everything is a “God thing.”
In his book, Miracles, C. S. Lewis helpfully observes that, while it was a miracle when Jesus turned the water into wine (John 2), nevertheless, every glass of wine is a miracle. “God creates the vine and teaches it to draw up water by its roots, and with the aid of the sun, to turn water into a juice which will ferment and take on certain qualities. Thus every year, from Noah’s time till ours, God turns water into wine.” In other words, the bottle of wine on the shelf at Woolworths is as much a “God thing” as when Jesus rescued the wedding reception.
We need to see every event in our lives as a God thing. He is involved in every detail of our lives, whether the experience is delightful or heartbreaking. God answering our prayers in accordance with our desire is a God thing, just as it is equally a God thing when, like Jesus in Gethsemane, the answer is, “No.” And since everything is a “God thing,” we should give thanks in everything, as Paul wrote: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Did you notice that? “All circumstances” are God’s will for you. All circumstances are God’s “thing” for you. And because everything is a God thing, David could testify, “I will bless the LORD at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).
Neither Paul nor David offered a caveat. For them, everything was to be seen as a “God thing.”
I have been reading a short but profound book, called Suffering is Not for Nothing, by Elisabeth Elliott. She was well-qualified to write it. Her first husband, Jim, was killed on the mission field. Then, four years after marrying her second husband, Addison, he too died, of cancer. She knew something about suffering. And she knew it was a “God thing.”
She exhorts that, in our suffering, the first step is to recognise that it comes from God, to accept it, and then to give thanks to God as an expression of offering ourselves in worship to the one who makes no mistakes.
She points out that, though she was not thankful that her husbands died, she was thankful that God was at work in those devastating circumstances. In her suffering, she was able to see that even this was a “God thing.” For Elisabeth Elliott, everything was a God thing. And when she died in 2015, she was ushered into the presence of God who made everything clear.
The gospel is the greatest proof that everything is a “God thing.” We rightly celebrate that the resurrection of Jesus was a “God thing.” But so was his unjust trial, his beatings, his horrific crucifixion, and his being accursed by God for our sakes. In fact, if it had not been for that “thing,” no other thing would even matter.
So, what’s the takeaway? That your trial, including the pandemic with all of its complications and hardships, is a “Godthing.” Though your trial is painful, and though you would not describe it as a “good thing,” it is something far better: it is a God thing. Recognise it, accept it, give thanks, and offer it and yourself to God who does everything well.
Trusting with you,