He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:17 Amplified Bible (AMP) And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).
Last night I put our Christmas trees up and all of our Christmas decorations. It took about 7 hours and I was exhausted by the end. I love it when it's done, but I dread the process of messing up and bringing up all of the boxes so I can trash the place and then re-decorate. Even so...one of the things I enjoy most is putting the "I am" ornament on the top of our Hope Tree. Our Hope tree has ornaments my mom just made for us displaying the names of God. Now I have had similar ornaments for many years, but my mom made us newer and prettier ones ... ones that look worthy of the names they portray. I always have had the tradition of putting the "I am" ornament right at the top of the tree closest to the star with all of the other names below. To me, "I am" encompasses everything. In that name, He states "I am". To me that means He is everything. All of the other names are wrapped up in that one. It's the reason I have hope. It's the reason everything is OK.
I love verse 17 in Colossians. Paul states the obvious truth about His God. The fact that God was before all things and existed before life today. Personalizing it..God was before my life. He was before my birth, my childhood, my marriage, the birth of my 2 kids, the death of my dad, the cancer Joshua had, the years of struggles involving ministry and finances. And recently, God was before Bethany made her decisions and ended up pregnant with Amelia and He was before any cancer scares I could ever have. That means He knew...He saw...He walked alongside, He cried, He encouraged.
And then the second half of the kicker. Yes, He was before each and every one of those times in my life...but more importantly...it says that in Him all things hold together. That means In Jesus...my life holds together. He's promising that through Jesus my family is held together...my health is held together, our ministry is held together, Amelia is held together, the future is held together...simply because He is Jesus and that's who He is and what He does. Fear is defeated. Failure is defeated. Death is defeated. The only thing that remains are souls. Souls of those around me that He has placed in my life. Souls that are held together through hard times. Hard times He allowed so that we could watch Him hold us together. That vision is sacred. That vision changes how I think, how I act, what I desire and what I plan for the future. I sometimes wish life were easier, but I would never...never give up the opportunity to go through hard times and watch and see the miraculous work of Jesus holding us together. That has been worth everything.