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. 27 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. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17:26-28 CEB
Job and his friends spent a lot of time trying to figure out how Job got himself in such hot water with God; later we discover that Job’s issues were not related to bad behaving. Most people that I know who have had a shocking suffering at some point get around to asking the age old question, “Why me? Did I DO something to cause this suffering to happen to me?”
I would not dare to presume to answer THAT question for fear of sounding like one of Job’s comforters, but here is one thing that I trust in: God made one man, and from that creative act the earth has been inhabited. There is a history that is long and far reaching – only the tiniest little speck of which I know, and much less I truly understand.
This long stretch of history is in accordance with what God has “marked out…in history and the boundaries”.
I am, as a curious sort of person, always asking questions. But even my questions have some boundaries. I have a boundary within me that is a result of my consciously choosing to trust God. I have made this decision. Since making this decision, I continue to have a LOT of questions. So my trust has not over-ridden my sensibilities or my ability to notice things that might cause me to re-evaluate my trusting. I do that. Oh, how I do that too.
But when I find a verse like Acts 17:26, it often jolts me to attention. It reminds me of all that I do not know, and hints of all God has going on throughout the scope of time.
This may not answer all our questions, but it at least reinforces my commitment to open-hearted curiosity. For today, what if we choose to trust that this is true, this God who has marked out time and place. How would we approach our personal lives differently? How would we approach politics? How would we address our anxieties?