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 blessings of someone else and wish that they’d 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’s 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’d more control over your own story or a greater ability to deal with all the things that are in your life, but which you didn't plan or choose?
Listen to what the Apostle Paul 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 breath 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 (Acts 17:24-27)."
Consider what the Apostle Paul is saying about your 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’re under the careful administration of the God who not only created the world, but is the ultimate definition of everything that’s wise, good, loving, and true.
2. Your life hasn’t worked according to your plan because it’s part of a bigger plan.
There is One who is Lord of heaven and earth. He’s 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’s 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 we would know him in a heart and life transforming way. So he’ll 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’ll reach for the help that only he can give us.
He’s working to pry open our fingers so that we‘ll 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’s comforting to know that his rule is an expression of his grace, and his grace wouldn't be reliable without his rule.
5. God does all of this so that he’ll always be near.
Paul's view of God's rule is tender and encouraging. He doesn’t 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’s doing, but because we trust him. Real rest of heart isn’t 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.
May God enable you to rest, not because you understand, but because you know and trust the Person who’s in loving and wise control over the details of your story.