God is in the details

God governs the very fabric of our lives.

This article was originally published online on February 3, 2022.

Working in a bustling law office for a number of years, I often heard the comment “The devil is in the details,” suggesting that mistakes or chaos are an inevitable part of daily life. Every time I heard this, I would counter it with an immediate mental note: “No, God is in the details!” I knew my colleagues were trying to remind everyone to be alert, but because of my study of Christian Science, I had a different outlook. I had read in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy the following: “God is everywhere, and nothing apart from Him is present or has power” (p. 473). So, if God is everywhere, I reasoned, how can there be a detail outside of God?

The Bible supports the idea of an ever-present and omnipotent God. A psalm announces simply, “The Lord is good” (Psalms 100:5). Christ Jesus was intimately acquainted with Scripture, and was quick to see that there was no source of good besides God. When a man kneeled before Jesus, addressing him as “Good Master,” Jesus replied, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:17, 18). 

Jesus’ immediate response indicates his own vigilance. He refused to allow a single detail to pass that was not in perfect alignment with the truth about God. The man had come to ask the Master how he could inherit eternal life, but Jesus knew that the answer required a better understanding of what God is, reminding the man that only one is good—God. It appears that Jesus felt impelled to help him see this truth as imperative to understanding eternal life. Putting to work in our own lives the idea that a knowledge of God must precede all questions, actions, or decisions aligns our thinking with the spiritual fact that good is ever present.

The idea that a knowledge of God must precede all questions, actions, or decisions aligns our thinking with the spiritual fact that good is ever present.

One day, as a young lawyer and student of Christian Science, I was reviewing a case that applied to a client, a small airport. The legal issue was whether the airport was governed by or exempt from a state regulation. A colleague had already concluded that the airport was noncompliant and that its owners would incur a costly financial penalty. He commented to me that “the devil is definitely in the regulatory details.” 

That evening, I sat down to carefully review the regulatory language. I bowed in recognition of the fact that God is present and that, as it says in Revelation, “the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (19:6). I also knew that whatever the outcome, God is governing and ordains only good, however that might unfold in human experience. As I read the details, a creative legal argument presented itself. The next day I met with the owners of the airport and shared it with them. They were elated when the legal argument proved to be successful.

The world, including our colleagues, friends, and families, may see the devil in the details by prophesying negative results or consequences as inevitable—including unavoidable illness. But entertaining even a remote possibility that error is inevitable would mean placing God outside the universe He has created, and chaos, chance, and discord within it. It may be tempting to fall into step with what others believe or say and to be lulled into making similar comments, but Mrs. Eddy was aware of these temptations. She astutely included in her governing Church Manual a section titled “A Rule for Motives and Acts.” It concludes with this instruction: “The members of this Church should daily watch and pray to be delivered from all evil, from prophesying, judging, condemning, counseling, influencing or being influenced erroneously” (p. 40). She recognized mental vigilance and prayer as a daily duty, to protect one’s self from being either the perpetrator or the victim of erroneous suggestions. 

Vigilance requires attention to detail, and the natural consequence of being attentive to one’s thought is seeing how God, Love, casts out erroneous thinking and replaces it with the truth. This is not a laborious task. The mental protest of “No, no, not in my house!” helps sweep clean our mental home, which can then fill with inspiration and uplift regarding God’s power. God governs the very fabric of our lives—whether it’s the business in the law office, the activities in the classroom, the soup in the kitchen, the behavior on the sports field, or anything else. When we know this categorically, we place ourselves on firm spiritual footing where we are unmoved by devilish suggestions that chaos reigns, and not God. We can rejoice in knowing that God governs with absolute authority and refuse to accept uncertainty on any level. As the Bible reminds us, “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (I Corinthians 14:33, New Living Translation).

Seeing God in the details of our life may be challenging when all appearances suggest otherwise. We can, however, remain firm in our conviction of God’s ever-presence and know that God manages every intimate detail of our lives for good, for order, for peace, for harmony, and for health. God truly is in the details.

May 2, 2022

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