Acts 17:26- 28
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.
Nothing in your life is inconsequential. The city you were born in, the date of your birth, the family who raised you, the language you first spoke and the people you meet are by divine appointment. God created the framework of your life, and within this context, he lets you decide if you will move towards him. God, in his great love, has taken a chance on you.
Think about the connections in your life that were timed so perfectly that it would be ridiculous to say it was by coincidence. In my life, it was an orphanage director handing me a beautiful baby girl in a hotel lobby in Nanchang, China. In this moment our destinies collided, and I became a mother to a baby born to another woman halfway around the world. From that instant, the path of our lives pointed in a new direction and time thrust us forward with a new purpose.
Some situations in your life will be timely and satisfying while other situations will feel like bad luck or a mistake and have you questioning if God even exists. It is during these confusing times you may ask, “What does it all mean? Why do I matter?
God has set eternity in the human heart.
Because God created your heart, you will always be searching for him – sometimes not knowing it is him you desire. You can spend your life searching in vain for everything but God, and meanwhile you live, and move and have your being because of him (Acts 17:28). God is your true North. He is the home you are longing to find.
Dare to move is a song by the Band, Switchfoot, that speaks to the nature of life on this earth.
Welcome to the planet…Welcome to existence…..everyone’s here….everybody’s watching you now…..everybody waits for you now… What happens next?….I dare you to move.
Life dares you to move. The sun keeps rising every morning to remind you to get out of bed and take control of your life and figure out why you are on this planet. Sometimes life dares you to move even when you are depressed and paralyzed with fear, and lifting one leg to take one step forward requires all the courage you can muster.
Life begs the question, “What happens next?” Time pushes you forward in perpetual motion and doesn’t always wait for you to sort out your questions about life, so you move to that city, take that job, marry that man and buy that next house; sometimes to disappointing results.
There are times you feel like your life is on display – like everybody is watching you rise and fall. You make decisions based on what everyone else expects of you, so you live the life you never intended to live. But this too is not inconsequential. It is in the scary forest of life where branch by branch, tree by tree, scratch by scratch, an opening finally comes into view, and God is there waiting for you.
Every struggle, every gain, every loss and every relationship, whether helpful or destructive, are there to lead you to God. They are your teachers.
Finally, one day you decide there has got to be away out of all this insanity.
That one day for me was during my freshman year of college. I sat at a table in a bar surrounded by my friends and loud music. Though I was in the middle of a crowd, the loneliness welled up in my chest to the point of suffocation. The conversation made me feel invisible and irrelevant. I didn’t know how to join the ping pong of words that were being recklessly tossed back and forth. It would have taken more alcohol to release my inhibitions that kept me locked in a prison of insecurity, fear and doubt, but I didn’t want to be drunk again on another Saturday night. None of these “so called” friends knew how I felt. I didn’t think I could trust them with my deepest fears and insecurities. It all seemed so unimportant to them.
This feeling of not belonging, of not being heard and the pointless conversation of that night was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. It dared me to move towards God.
From there you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or smell. But if from there, you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
You will seek Jesus from somewhere. Where is that somewhere? Did your search come from a deep disappointment in the man-man gods of this world? Financial security, success, great career, nice home, nice cars, travel, children, lofty pursuits that give you a name, clothes or comfort?
Everything is meaningless, says the Teacher, completely meaningless!
I was only 19 years old, yet I had already begun to bear the burden of a meaningless existence. My youth, the opportunity to attend Western Illinois University, my good health, my slim figure, my ability to get A’s in my classes and the endless college parties with lots of kids my age felt more of a death sentence than a wonderful college experience. I kept telling myself to be grateful and to just laugh along with everyone else, but how could I when I was dying inside?
I remember walking on my college campus that same year with a friend. She told me that Jesus wants us to give our whole life to him. At the time I had not read the Bible yet, and I was taking transcendental meditation classes so that my mind could transcend all the chaos and noise of the college dorm life. What she said to me was foreign and strange. I thought, “Why would I give my life whole life to Jesus?” Her comment planted a seed in my heart.
I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.
God made sure I got connected with a group of people who were eager to share Christ with others. They decided to move their Bible Study across the campus to the dorm I was living in at just the right time. In fact, at the precise time I was ready to hear what they had to share in the Bible.
Four decades have passed since my freshman year of college when I dared to move towards God and away from a meaningless existence. I’m much older now, but life is still begging the question, “What happens next?” I’m still seeking Jesus for the same reason I initially did – to belong, to be loved and to love and have a purpose to live. This desire to know the one who created me dares me to move.
How has life dared you to move? What conclusion have you come to in your life in your search for meaning and happiness? Have your opportunities, blessings and disappointments been your teachers? Have they turned your heart toward God or away?