When I was trying to come up with a name of my company, many names came to mind. What did I want my faith-based wall art to convey? What about the works of other visual artists who focus on Christian wall art? What could I possibly add? One name was God’s Splendor. However, this was not my forte; other photographers do a much more superior job than I of producing pictures of spectacular awe-inspiring scenes.
I decided that attention to everyday beauty was going to be what I concentrated on in this venture. I had run across something the year before about God being in the details. So, I decided to Google it. When I put this phrase in the search engine, the first item listed was for “The Devil is in the Details” Perhaps that is because this phrase is more common than what I put in. Perhaps it thought I mistyped. However, it is most likely because the Devil values Google ads.
After this, I believe, unnecessary detour, there were quite a few entries for the phrase “God is in the Details” I thought it matched my philosophy and my spiritual gift from God. Given that the “other” expression is used more, I wondered whether either of them is truer. Here are my thoughts.
Let’s start with the Devil one to allow us to end this blog on an uplifting note. One common place that this expression is used is when taking about legislation in front of the US Congress. People will say that the overall intent of the law is good but that the Devil is in the details. A given piece of legislation often has earmarks. The Meriam-Webster third definition of earmark is “A provision in Congressional legislation that allocates a specific amount of money for a specific project, program, or organization” That sounds innocuous enough. On the website ThoughtCo at www.thoughtco.com it is defined as “Earmarks are funds provided by the Congress for specific projects or programs in such a manner that the allocation a) circumvents a merit-based or competitive allocation process; b) applies to a very limited number of individuals or entities, or c) otherwise curtails the ability of the Executive Branch to independently manage the agency budget” In practice, politicians on both sides of the aisle, use these to obscure from view either a pet project or belief of theirs or more likely because a large donor wants it. There have been cases where a tax break is put in so narrow that only a few people (including the donor) might benefit. They would not put forth a bill by itself so blatantly in the politicians’ vested interests. In short, they are trying to hide this detail.
There are many such examples. Pharmaceutical companies produce beautiful heart tugging commercials about the benefits of a drug and then in a low monotone voice or small print on the screen give you a list of often horrific possible “side effects.” Car dealerships that market to customers with less than stellar credit talk about the great trade ins, the low money down, and low interest rates but then in very rapid low volume at the end say something to the effect of that these offers are only for qualified buyers. Contracts that people sign for loans and other financial transactions often contain somewhere buried in legalese or other confusing paragraphs information that people do not fully understand what they are signing. This is where the expression “Make sure to read the fine print” is about, the things they do not want you to see will be the hardest to see.
All of the above are examples of “The Devil is in the details” What do they all have in common? The evil, the wrong, the misrepresentation is not obvious because if it was then other people would not agree. Satan does not walk up to people and say “Hello, I am evil and I would like for you to follow me, leading to misery and despair and death” Why, because then Satan would not get any takers!. Instead, Satan approaches in an appealing package. He is quite capable of wrapping it up in a what seems to be a good or even holy cause. It can be pretty, engaging, enticing. But as with above, what if you look below the surface, examine the “offer” closely? Then you would see the evil lurking within. Satan is clever and adept at the superficial, knowing that mankind is prone toward it. The expression “It seems to be too good to be true” is Satan’s calling card. He does not have to make it all good, only at the surface level. He, in fact, is incapable of making something truly holy and good.
God is good, all the way good. The challenging and often difficult part is that the outside may not be as pretty, engaging, or enticing. Sometimes it looks not initially appealing or just pedestrian. But if you look closely, intentionally, and with trust and faith, then the truth shines through. Then the more you look at it, hear it, feel it, smell it, the more you realize the power and beauty of God. Therefore, studying the Bible should be a lifelong pursuit. As you live through more events, have more ups and downs, mature, you will be able to see in a Bible verse that you have read a hundred times before something that you did not know, a meaning that was not clear to you. By studying the different books and their relationship to each other, you can obtain that deeper meaning- the details that really matter and have profound meaning.
So, let’s revisit the initial question- Is God or the Devil in the Details? The answer is both. The difference is when looking at something from the Devil, the deeper you look the more you see that he is a fraud, that his offering, his product is flawed and evil, and following that path will not result in happiness but despair. This wrong could vary from an unwise investment to something which has implications for your very soul.
With those things from God, however, the more you view the more you gain, the more you see His holiness, His plan, His wisdom. The deeper you look the more you see His light to guide you to a better life. To be able to see the wonder of all in the details of the world will help bring peace, joy, and happiness. The details of everyday life are reminders of His love for us. It is in every leaf, every plant, every tree, every raindrop, every body of water, every cloud, every bird in flight, and every smile on a person’s face. Because. . . . God is everywhere.