All The Petty Details of Life?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Good morning M____,
Thank you for your question.
Just so you know, I too, had the very same question you have here when I first started considering the extent of God’s sovereignty. I had been taught that God was sovereign over the outcome of all things but that we are all like a dog on a leash. God has us under His control but He doesn’t bother with whether we decide to go to the left to visit another dog or go to the right to do some other business.
I remember a minister teaching on this subject once said “My sister- in- law was canning peaches yesterday, and she dropped a quart of peaches on her foot and broke her toe. I do not think that God had that all planned out from before the foundation of the world!” He was very emphatic about God not being sovereign over all the petty details of every day life.
When I heard that sermon, I agreed with that point. It seemed ridiculous to me that God would even bother to involve Himself with such menial details. He’s God, so surely God would delegate the concerns for such details to someone else, someone like me. But then I would never choose to drop a quart of peaches on my foot and break my toe, or for that matter I wouldn’t even choose to drop my keys.
To use your words, this is indeed all very “petty.” So really all we need to know is what the Bible teaches us about God’s concern with petty details. If you read that entire paper, After The Counsel of His Own Will, then you know that God does indeed delegate spirits to visit the prophet Daniel to let Daniel know that the kingdom of Babylon will one day be replaced by another kingdom. But it is also God who sent Satan to try Job and an evil spirit to trouble King Saul, and a lying spirit to put lies in the mouths of all of King Ahab’s prophets. You and I might think that those are pretty significant things and therefore worthy of God’s valuable attention, but surely He doesn’t even care whether you drop your keys, the preacher’s sister- in- law drops a quart of peaches on her foot or I bump my head on a pipe while doing my construction work.
What do the scriptures teach about such petty details. Would either of us dare to say that an omniscient God didn’t know that any of those things was going to happen? I for one would not be willing to make such a presumptuous statement. I am convinced that God truly is all knowing down to the least detail and that working “all things” means all things.
But I was not always of such a mind set. Ten or twelve years ago my middle son, Dallas, who is now in his mid thirties, came to me and told me that he had been reading a book on the study of fractals. Fractals is just another word for ‘chaos.’ Dallas informed me that according to what he had learned from this science book on the study of fractals, that in reality, everything that appears to us to be chaotic, is in reality confined within the laws of nature and in particular the law that states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That is a law of nature and of science which cannot be broken. Dallas’s conclusion from reading that totally secular book, was that God is therefore in complete and total control of even the smallest details of life. It is not something that taxes His mind or overloads God’s hard drive. It is just simply true. It is a law of science and nature. It is God ordained.
But it took two whole years and many lively discussions around the table before I came to agree with my son on that subject. The beast within me wanted to at least be able to decide whether I went to the right to meet another person or went to the left to keep from meeting that person. Surely I was sovereign over the smallest details in my life! Surely God was not the cause of every single little detail!
What changed my mind? What changed my mind was what the word of God teaches about God’s concerns for the smallest of matters. Of course what really changed my mind was Christ in me, but Christ in me is His word in me, and this is what that Word teaches about the smallest of details. These are the words of Christ himself:

Mat 10:29  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

Now that is pretty “petty” information. But, lest we think that we have misunderstood His point our Lord continues:

Mat 10:30  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat 10:31  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

There it is; “all of the hairs of your head” and all of the hairs of my head and all of the hairs of every single person who has ever lived are ” all numbered.” That is how aware of “petty details” is our God. Are we to believe that God concerns Himself with the number of the hairs on our heads, but not with the smallest thoughts in our minds? How utterly foolish. Every physical detail of scripture is telling us something about the thoughts of our minds. Every word of scripture is concerned with the spirit behind those words. The “hairs of your head” represent the thought that caused you to drop your keys in the first place, and then the thought that told you to pick the keys up. That is why “the hairs of your head” were used as an example, to let us know that there is no matter which is too small for our God’s attention to detail.
The truth is that there are no “really important matters” without all the “petty details” which must be in place to sustain and support all of those ‘really important matters.’ It’s like being a king. There would be no king without the king’s subjects and all of the petty details of the lives of the king’s subjects.
 Here is an old saying which is based upon the very Biblical subject we have been discussing:
For want of a nail – That large consequences may follow from inattention to small details, usually something similar to the following:”For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the general was lost, for want of a general the battle was lost, for want of a battle the war was lost, for want of a war the empire was lost — an empire lost for the want of a nail!”
“Large consequences may follow from inattention to small details.” But our God has “every hair on our heads numbered” so we really do not need to worry about anything. When we are given the faith to accept His total sovereignty and not just the partial sovereignty of Babylon, along with the faith to believe that comes “the peace that passes all understanding.”
I will let the apostle Paul close for me:

Php 4:6  Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Php 4:7  Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life . (ASV)

Or as the king James Version puts it:

Php 4:7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I have given you the Biblical answer to your question. I hope and pray that the Lord will give you the faith to receive His Words on this subject.
Your brother in Christ.

Other related posts