“He has done this so that they would look for God, somehow reach for Him, and find Him. In fact, He is never far from any one of us. Certainly, we live, move, and exist because of Him. As some of your poets have said, ‘We are God’s children.'” Acts 17:27-28 God’s Word translation.
Who has done what? You, God, did something so that people would look for You, reach You, and find You. That’s amazing! I want to look at what You did.
Well, it started with You making the universe and everything in it. Paul rehashed that in verse 24 briefly. But I can go back to Genesis and read all about it. So that makes You the Lord, the Ruler, the Authority, over heaven and earth. And as it’s Creator, You are bigger than what You created, so it’s not like we can contain You in any created thing. It’s also not like any created thing can meet Your needs or that You need any created thing to meet any of Your needs. Obviously You could have existed without us, because You were existing without all these things You created before You created them.
So You created us, people, and gave us life, the very breath we breathe and everything that we have is given to us by You. It started with one man and somehow You brought forth from him every nation on the earth. Hmm. That makes us all related by blood. That’s something to think about. You even established seasons and where individual men would live. So now that I know that You did this, why would You do this?
Why would You place the Jews or the Greeks or the Romans or the Medes, or the Persians where You did and when You did? Why would you place the Americans, or Philippinos, or Africans, or Malaysians where You have and when You have? Why would You place El Shabaab, or ISIS, or Christians where You have and when You have? Why would You allow 147 students to attend a college in Kenya where they would lose their lives because of their affiliation with You? Why would You place former Muslims in strategic places to educate the world in the Truth? Paul gives us the answer.
“He has done this so that they would look for God, somehow reach for Him, and find Him.” Dark doesn’t know what light is until it’s exposed to it. When light steps in, darkness must run. Every person of every tribe and nation, is being exposed to the Truth. It’s Your desire that every one of us look for You. That’s where it must start. But sometimes we are so busy following traditions that we never stop to think about whether they are true or not. That effects those of us who call ourselves believers just as much as those who believe in something else. It’s all about searching.
But what are we searching for? Are we really searching for the truth or are we searching for something that just satisfies our whims? Because God is designing our lives around looking for Him, the real Him. He wants us to look for Him so personally and intently that we somehow stumble upon actually reaching for Him. This is when the searching for other things to satisfy us ends and only He will do. And when we get that close to Him, that’s when He allows Himself to be found by us. And the truth is that He was never far away. He’s always been waiting for us to turn to Him in truth and wholehearted need.
Because the truth of the matter is that no matter what nation I come from and no matter what religion I adhere to, I live, move, and exist solely because of You, Lord. The sad thing is to give credit to another or to not even be concerned about giving credit at all. Yet everything You have ordered around us shouts out the truth of You. The question is, “What will I do with that truth?”
Paul didn’t treat the Athenians like they were unintelligent babes. Neither does God treat us as such. He said there was a time when God overlooked man’s ignorance, his not knowing any better. But no more. Now “He commands everyone everywhere to turn to Him and change the way they think and act. He has set a day when He is going to judge the world with justice, and He will use a man He has appointed (Jesus) to do this. God has given proof to everyone that He will do this by bringing that man back to life.” (Acts 17:30-31)
The day that Paul shared that in Athens, some mocked him. They thought it was crazy for him to be talking about someone resurrecting from the dead. Some put him off and said they’d listen to more later. So Paul honored their attitudes and went out. But some men joined him and believed. But they didn’t just join him. It wasn’t like they thought Paul was cool and they liked his message and they became a groupy. The word for join, is “kollao,” and it means to glue, to stick, to cleave, to join yourself, to keep company that closely. See, these men and women, they were the ones really, I mean really searching. They were wanting to know the truth. And because they were searching for it, they heard it. And because they were really searching, then they wanted to reach out and handle it. And they weren’t going to leave until they could hold it for themselves. And that’s the attitude and actions that You bless and reward with finding You.
How glued to Jesus am I? How glued to those who know Him am I? Am I so glued that other people see the truth that they are looking for? Does it make them want to “stick” around for more? I wrote a story, an allegory, and shared it with my kids when they were little. I thought it was a salvation allegory but after joining with God on mission, it took on a whole new aspect. Because those people that led me to draw near to You, well, they became what I call Fire People. And the thing is, that Paul was one of those Fire People. And I bet that Dionysius and Damaris became Fire People and other people came to stick to You because of Your influence in them. But that’s just it. No matter who You use, it’s always You that reaches out and finds us and accepts our outstretched hands and hearts and draws us into Yourself and binds us with You and Yours.
Yes, this is why things are the way they are. This is why things happen. It’s always to draw us near to You. To get us to look for You and search for You with all our hearts and all our beings. Because once we have You, we have everything we need no matter what is going on around us.