The Wrong AddressWednesday, October 19, 2011
Do you ever think that perhaps you're at the wrong address? Did you ever wonder or wish that the things you deal with everyday weren't meant for you? Did you ever look at the blessing of someone else and wish that it had landed at your address?
Do you ever feel lost in the middle of your own story? Do you ever feel as though you don't have what it takes to deal with what is on your plate? Have you ever felt ill-prepared and ill-equipped to carry the responsibilities that are your daily duty? Does life at times seem too hard? Have you ever wished that you had more control over your own story or a greater ability to deal with all the things that are in your life, but which you did not plan or choose?
Listen to what Paul (in Acts 17:24-27) says about how each of us landed at the place where we now live, relate, and work.
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breathe and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the exact times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."
Consider what the Apostle Paul is saying about you life and mine:
1. When and where you live is never a mistake. Although many of the things that have shaped your story are out of your control, they are under the careful administration of the God who not only created the world, but is the ultimate definition of everything that is wise, good, loving, and true.
2. Your life has not worked according to your plan because it is part of a bigger plan. There is One who is Lord of heaven and earth. He has written your personal story into his grand redemptive story. He welcomes you out of your own little kingdom of self to be part of his wonderful, big-sky kingdom.
3. God has you just where he wants you. Sometimes it is hard to face, but God really does determine exactly where you live, who you live with, the exact period of time in which you live, and the exact length of your life.
4. God has a wonderful purpose for bringing into your life the things that you now face. Rather than working to deliver to us our personal definition of happiness, satisfaction and contentment, God is working so that so that we would know him in a heart and life transforming way. So he will put us in places that take us beyond the boundaries of our own character, strength, and wisdom. He does this so that in humility and weakness we will reach for the help that only he can give us. He is working to pry open our fingers so that we will let go of the things that we tend to hold to so tightly, not because he wants us to have less, but because he wants us to have so much more. His rule is never separate from his love and grace. It is comforting to know that his rule is an expression of his grace and his grace would not be reliable without his rule.
5. God does all of this so that he will always be near. Paul's view of God's rule is tender and encouraging. He does not picture God as the ultimate, impersonal chess player, moving the pieces according to his whim. No, Paul pictures a God who understands our weaknesses, who sympathizes with our struggles, and who rules his world in a manner that makes him near and available. And he welcomes us to reach out and find him.
So, even in moments of confusion, you and I can rest; not because we know exactly why God is doing what he is doing, but because we trust him. Real rest of heart is not the result of understanding everything in my life. That will never happen. Real rest is the result of a relationship, just the kind of relationship that God sent his Son to make possible and now invites you to have with him.