The Place You Live
Yesterday as my wife and I were driving away from a friend’s birthday grill-out we were telling our daughters that Grandma Patty (wife’s mom) is visiting from Brainerd and waiting for us at home. Our children love time with their grandparents, and so soon Elise, our three-year-old, asks in a very contemplative tone, “Momma, why did Jesus put Grandma Patty’s house so far away from ours?”
Just a heads-up, as you move along in life with the mission of making disciples you will undoubtedly be asked difficult questions by the men and women you invest your life in; questions that you may not be prepared to answer.
But I tried. So here is a more refined version of what I said to Elise.
Acts 17:26-27 Paul says that God, “has determined allotted periods and the boundaries for man’s dwelling”. Not only that each would live on a certain continent, in a certain country, in a certain state and city with its religious and cultural context. But that each would live in a certain neighborhood, in a specific building, with distinct neighbors.
In other words, God decides when we live and where we live, down to the painful paint colors and creaky floorboards.
And Paul says that the reason God does this is redemptive: “so that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him.”
Whether you live in a studio apartment, share a dorm with three other people or own a manicured home, remember that God in his providence has placed you there with redemptive purposes in mind. Which means that this is for your greater happiness and Christ-likeness. The joys that you experience in your physical context are unique, and they can be greater than what you would get if you owned the perfect dream home but cared little for what God wanted to do with it.
So, if the space that you live in is less than ideal, and not what you would pick for yourself, remember that God has placed you there and means to accomplish his will in you and in others in it. Think of how God has used it, and how he has yet to use it. He has sovereignly given it to you.
And if you do love your dwelling, thank God for it. Let it be a place of rest, grace, and mission. Let God do with it what he wishes.