Romans 8:36 “For from him, and through him, and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
Everything is from God. When my children were little, there were sometimes gifts under the Christmas tree from them for me or my wife. How did that happen? The money with which they paid for the gift–that came out of our pockets. We took them shopping and guided them in the selection. They were only giving us back what we had provided to them, and they needed a good deal of our help to make it happen. An old commercial features a little boy dumping out some change and a few dollars on the jewelry store counter to get his mom a gift. Behind him stands his father, making sure the sales lady sees the credit card he is holding in his hand. You know who is really paying for this.
It’s the same for us with our Lord. Everything we have, everything we are, everything we give comes from him. Nothing about my life or existence isn’t a gift. He is the source of all things. Such generosity, far beyond me and my humble ability to give, deserves my adoration.
Even more, “through him… are all things.” Our Lord makes everything happen. I may think that my careful diet, supplements, and exercise program are keeping me healthy. The Lord may genuinely use those things in the process. But unless he touches it all with his blessing and power, it’s useless.
For most of human history, people have been bent on climbing into heaven on their own power. They believe they can qualify on their own good record. It’s not possible. Only through God’s work can any of us be reconciled with God. Only his life pays for sin. Only his blood washes it away. Only his Spirit can change doubters and deniers into believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. All of this lies far beyond me and my meager efforts. Through him are all things, especially salvation, and that makes him worthy of praise.
Finally, “to him are all things.” Everything that is, everything that happens, is for God and his own purpose. He intends all of it to lead us home to him. That is the goal of all history.
It is easy for us to lose sight of this. We may think the world is all about our present happiness. We are here to make the world a better place or enjoy ourselves for a while. But that’s not right. We are here so that he can gather us and others to faith in him now, then come home to him when our short life is done. The purpose of this world, this life, extends far beyond me. But it sure serves and blesses me, and that makes God and his ways worthy of my thanks and praise.
We don’t always need to understand something to benefit from it. I don’t understand how long strings of zeroes and ones in computer code become the beautiful music that comes out of my iPhone or music system. But it wouldn’t sound any better if I did. I don’t understand exactly how water, dirt, and sunlight become the food that nourishes my body. But it wouldn’t taste or feed me any better if I did. I don’t understand all the why’s and how’s of God’s love that rescued and redeemed me. But I would be no more loved as his child, no more bound for heaven if I did. Sometimes, many times, his ways are beyond me. That’s just reason to praise him all the more.