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  • Christine Vogelsang

What's it ALL About?


“Are you sure you understood her correctly? You didn’t miss something in the translation?”

“No, Dad. One large room with two queen beds and a balcony overlooking the ocean, free transportation to the island in the bay, and unlimited food and beverages.”

“For each night.”

“No. For both nights.”

“For each of us.”

“No. For all three of us.”

My husband leaned over the counter and stared at the clerk. “One hundred fifty US dollars. That’s all?”

We were traveling with our daughter in the Dominican Republic several years ago, and this was our first experience with an all-inclusive. We obviously had hit the jackpot!

“All” is a pretty daunting word when you think about it. As humans we have trouble grasping it. The entire thing. Everything. Everyone. Each and every person.

We hear some child is “all boy” as if that’s an excuse for all the wrong choices he makes. We give our all, which is really our best effort… and we come up short.

Some people “want it all,” whatever that means in their measure of a successful life. Yet it’s obvious that that’s not going to happen. We set priorities and make choices. We may just have to admit that if we do achieve even part of our goals, it won’t be all at the same time.

I remember cowering in the basement of our apartment house in Springfield, Illinois, waiting for the all clear on the radio during a tornado warning. Whenever our wild fires in southern California threatened lives and property, my husband would track down each of our church members to find out their situation. He doesn’t stop until all were accounted for.

My mom used to say, “Well, that beats all!” when she heard an amazing story. And her “all tuckered out” comment acknowledged the child who had used up all her energy.

Preparing to run a race or just leave for church, we hear “All set?” “All ready?” And if you’re not, you might be scrambling to put your shoes on in the car.

When someone is indecisive or can’t seem to get his act together we say he’s all over the map. However someone who says he’s “all in” has determined to make a firm commitment.

We don’t mind assuring a friend who has a story to share that we’re “all ears,” but I don’t like to admit that I’m “all thumbs” when it comes to certain skills.

“All or nothing” people are those who have extremely high standards for themselves or others. Nothing can please them. And if they can’t get it on the first try, they throw their hands in the air and give up. Working to improve their ability or a relationship is just not going to happen.

I’m really not convinced when my husband or one of my children assure me they’ve looked “all over” for something. But if Mom can’t find it, everyone knows that it’s truly lost.

All-purpose cleaners are supposed to be universal, but if you check the label there is sure to be an exception. An all-purpose seasoning may take the place of a cluttered spice rack, but you’d better be prepared for your food to taste all the same.

The word “all” appears in the Bible over 4500 times. Some of these references are pointed at me: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Those are good reminders that I don’t always give my all or trust in God to give His.

Busy people often hear the phrase, “I don’t know how you do it all!” Actually they aren’t really doing it all. They can’t.

Only God can.

Check the Scriptures. Do a word search on “all” and feel your faith renewed and strengthened as you see how God uses that word when He speaks through His Word. Only God is all knowing, all powerful, all present. “For God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:20). Only God included everyone when the angels announced to the shepherds that the Good News was to all people. And of course there is the Scripture that deserves our full attention: “With God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).

I love that assurance… that when I’m His child, trusting in His power and promises, then all things will work together for good. As I once heard someone say, “Everything will be all right in the end, and if it’s not all right, then it’s not the end.”

But what about “the end”? No one likes to hear, “That’s all. There is no more.” And there are people who continually are searching to answer the question, “Is that all there is to life?”

I know the empty cross and the empty tomb shout out, “No! That’s not all!”

I know my Lord Jesus paid the price… once for all.

He tells me that “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Just believe? That’s all?

Yup! That’s all!

Leaving my guilt at the cross,

Christine

#renewal #faithstrengthening #assurance #hope

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