From one man, Adam, he made every man and woman and every race of humanity, and he spread us over all the earth. He sets the boundaries of people and nations, determining their appointed times in history. He has done this so that every person would long for God, feel their way to Him, and find Him – for He is the God who is easy to discover! Acts 17:26-27 TPT
Reading with rose-coloured glasses has on occasion brought me discontentment. I read the wonderous tales of Anne Shirley, Laura Ingalls Wilder or Nurse Jenny Lee and imagine how much better it would be to have lived in simpler times or a different place.
Yes, times were simpler in some ways, but what about those fancy modern conveniences, like accessibility to preventative and diagnostic medicine? Thinking back to health issues I dealt with in my younger years, it would have been highly unlikely that I would have lived to see the age of 30, even with medical care available in the times of Call the Midwives. Being an orphan certainly isn’t as romantic a notion as L.M. Montgomery painted it to be. After the “Snowmageddon” that many have experienced last week, the Long Winter Laura Ingalls described doesn’t seem so blissful when it was too cold for Pa to play the fiddle.
There is a reason that I am living now, here in Canada. It’s part of God’s great story that I be here right now. I have my appointed time in history. For what purpose? Well, that is not entirely clear to me yet, and perhaps won’t fully be clear in my lifetime.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Acts 17 that God has placed each person in their specific time and location for life so that we would long for God and find Him. The Passion Translation says we will “feel our way” – the way we navigate a dark room, by feeling for landmarks, signs of what is around us even when it’s hard to see with our natural sight.
God is always around us, whether we desire to look for Him, or consciously make an effort to seek Him out. As Paul says, God really is easy to discover. I find Him in His Word that speaks to me in the seasons of my life in a fresh way. I detect God’s love in the warm embrace of my husband who always points me back to God when I struggle. I experience God in a text message from a friend who says I was on her heart today and she prayed for me. Out of all the people in her life, she thought of me on a day I needed reassurance, and God was the only one aware. That is God saying to me, “I’m right here. I see you and I am working on this problem for you.” We see God revealed in nature, in dreams, or in a song of praise that you can’t get out of your head.
My friend, this is your appointed time in history. Each of us plays a role in God’s grand rescue story. These may not be the “simpler times” portrayed in literature, but this is your time and mine. While I will still enjoy those stories, I’m tucking the rose-coloured glasses into a drawer and viewing the times then and now for what they are. Time for each of us to acknowledge that longing in our souls is for God, to discover the beauty of a relationship with Him. No matter our age, none of us are too young or too old to fulfill our purpose in the lives of our families, our church, and our community. God has determined that in all of earth’s history, we are in the time and the place where we can shine brightest.