“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17 NIV
A calling as a pastor, missionary, or chaplain draws a person to a life of prayer. But none of them pray as long and as fervently as someone who works in IT and is about to go on vacation. The computer systems that run our world seem to work effortlessly and reliably, with only the occasional bug. But behind the scenes, there are people working tirelessly to keep the whole thing going. And that means if the system goes down, that IT technician who was on vacation isn’t on vacation anymore. Hence the prayer.
When I hear God referred to as the “Creator and Sustainer” of the universe, the tireless efforts of an IT technician come to mind. The earth is a surprisingly complex system designed to support human life, and we don’t go more than a few years without discovering another way in which that entire system could collapse and cause mass extinction. There’s not a discipline of science that doubts that all life on earth will be extinguished; it’s just a question of what will get us and when. Will it be an asteroid impact? A new strain of disease? Something we haven’t even discovered yet? Or maybe we’ll just unleash a small fraction of the arsenal of nuclear and biological weapons we’ve amassed and eliminate civilization ourselves.
And yet, life goes on. I usually think of miracles as things like sudden healing or inspired words of prophecy. But more and more I’m coming to the conclusion that everything is a miracle. We think of a hero saving the world at the last minute as something that happens mainly in stories. But this happens more reliably in reality than any TV show or novel. No matter how bad things have gotten here on Earth, how high the stakes, and how certain the doom, the day is saved and the story goes on, over and over again.
The only explanation I can think of is that the Author of this world’s story isn’t ready to end things just yet. If a website running smoothly and predictably is proof that someone is working behind the scenes to keep things running, how much more is a working universe a testament to God’s miraculous provision? I used to think that it was just natural that society held together as much as it did, that disasters were rare and limited in their destruction, and that the laws of physics continued to work in a predictable fashion. But the more I understand how fragile things are, the more I see the miraculous in everything as the world is held together by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. If it wasn’t for God’s creation, nothing would exist. If it wasn’t for God’s sustaining, everything would fall apart.
Prayer: God, your provision for me is more than I could ever imagine. Thank you for holding this world together for our benefit.
~ Cameron Miller, writer
~ Deana Harvey, artist