“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:24-27 (ESV) Uncertainty may be one of the worst feelings. Especially if the uncertainty involves something we care about deeply. How do we respond when we face uncertain situations? I typically try to hold tighter to what I can, to force the outcome my heart desires. I also try to hold on to things I can’t hold on to. Or I try to change things that are outside of my power or control. And the more I realize all the things outside of my control, the more utterly aware I am of the deep panic of uncertainty in my soul. So, how should we as Christians respond to uncertainty? How do we process the chaos and confusion of a pandemic, political uncertainty or even personal crisis? Does God’s Word give us relief for the pain and panic we may be experiencing today? Yes, it certainly does. The Christian responds to every situation and circumstance of uncertainty with the truth of God’s sovereignty. Sovereignty is simply defined as God’s authority, rule, reign and control over all things. While wemay face uncertainty, there is never an ounce of uncertainty for God. One of the most spectacular places we find this biblical Truth is when Paul is speaking to the people of Athens at the Aereopagus in Acts 17:24-28. The Aereopagus was a place filled with uncertainty. People would gather and talk for hours trying to understand and solve the issues of humanity (religion, politics, family, etc.). In this context of high uncertainty and probably a fair share of anxiety, Paul says these assuring and comforting words: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:24-27). Notice the specific and hope-filled truths about God:
He is Lord of heaven and earth. In other words, He is King of all things!
He is the source of life. The source of life needs nothing because He sustains all He creates.
Friends, it doesn’t stop here. God also has determined the “appointed times and boundaries” of our existence. Can we pause and really consider what this means? You and I could have been born in any time in human history and in any geographic area. Yet, the times and the boundaries of our existence are divinely placed and purposed by the hands of God Himself! We can respond to the uncertainty of life with the certainty of God’s plan and purpose for us. But what exactly is that plan and purpose? Paul says the purpose is that we might reach out, find God and come to realize He was never far from us. The phrase, “reach out and find” in Greek was used by Homer to describe a person in darkness reaching out their hands to find their way out into the light. Paul is saying that though our uncertainty may feel like we are in darkness, all we need to do is reach out and realize that God has never left us or abandoned us. He is the light that is with us, and His nearness is meant to propel us to share the goodness of His presence with everyone around us. Theologian Charles Spurgeon said, “God is near, and therefore hope is near.” Christians have the certainty of God’s nearness. However, there are those we love in our families, work places, schools and communities who are facing the fear of uncertainty without the hope of the nearness of Christ. What an incredible opportunity you and I have in the midst of uncertain situations to be beacons of light of the promise and presence of the sovereign rule of Christ. Our job: to reflect the love, goodness, grace and glory of Christ to a broken world. Everything else is in the firm and faithful hands of our loving God. Heavenly Father, You are the King of kings and ruler over all. Help that truth resonant deep within me when I feel uncertain. Nothing surprises You, and You have a good plan for those who love You. Thank You for Your nearness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. TRUTH FOR TODAY Deuteronomy 4:7, “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” (ESV) Psalm 145:18-19, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” (ESV) RELATED RESOURCES Is your soul weary from waiting? The holidays remind us of things we are waiting for. And we can all become a little weary from waiting. But there is still a reason to rejoice this year. Jesus — the Promised One, the Prince of Peace — has come, and He is going to come again. You asked, and it's finally here: Our very first Advent study, Pointing to the Promise, begins November 16 in the First 5 app. Click here to order your Study Guide today! CONNECT Connect with Joel on his website, where he offers a “bite sized theology” email. You can learn theology every month in five minutes or less. Or connect on Instagram and Facebook. REFLECT AND RESPOND How have you experienced the goodness and nearness of God during this difficult year? Today, let’s create a waterfall of positive, hope-filled thoughts in the comment section. Join us there to share or be encouraged. © 2020 by Joel Muddamalle. All rights reserved.