I'm reading Embodying Our Faith by Tim Morey, per the recommendation of my pastor, and in the second chapter, he points out Paul's having to adjust his missionary practices to appeal to a foreign group of people (Athenians). And while doing so, Paul says something that really struck me about God.
“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 human hands.And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.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.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.‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
- Acts 17:24-28
In verse 27, Paul says that God set up human history "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." Isn't that amazing? God went to great lengths so we could find him...but we still have to do a little searching. I was trying to picture God hiding around the corner or tip-toeing behind us until we found Him, but it didn't seem right to imagine this cosmic game of hide-and-seek.
But then I had a thought...you know that place you just discovered in your neighborhood, maybe a sushi place, even though you've lived there for the past two years and it was right around the corner all along? You go there and it's amazing, and by the end you're asking yourself, "How did I never notice this place?!"
One of my favorite sushi places.
What it comes down to is that either someone had to tell you about it, or you had to be hungry and looking for sushi. But there it is, in all its glory (and within walking distance), and now you'll go tell someone else (or at least write a Yelp review) because it's worth sharing.
God is like that -- always there, always around the corner -- but we'll only find Him when we're hungry for Him and do a little searching. Thanks be to God though: we never have to look far.
Not only does God pursue us, he has prearranged our circumstances in such a way that each of us would be most inclined to seek and perhaps find him. Though our hearts' propensity is to turn away from our Creator, God has stacked the deck in our favor. Long before a gospel witness ever arrives, God is at work in the lives of those who will come to faith, to the point of placing people in the time and place in history that will best encourage their seeking him.
- Tim Morey, Embodying Our Faith
For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.