And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.
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2 Kings 9:14-10:31
This is another instance when verses from two of the books we’re reading today perfectly compliment each other. One is Acts 17:24, and the other is Psalm 144:3: “O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them?”
For a long time I grieved that I wasn’t born in 1867 to Ma and Pa Ingalls. I belonged in that little house. I was meant to grind wheat and sew my dresses from flour sacks, and milk the cow before dawn. That was the life for me — one where you read by candlelight, and made do with what you had; one in which an unexpected disaster might cause a break-out of good will and community spirit. My sisters must have agreed, because they regularly told me I was born 100 years too late.
But as He is in the habit of doing, the Holy Spirit very gently corrected my longing and showed me something beautiful. While reading this passage in Acts one morning, I saw the words in a startling light. He determined my appointed time, and the boundaries of my habitation. Time and place. I had never considered my existence an accident; I had just never considered how purposeful my Creator had been about it, or how much thought had gone into the decision.
But why? I wondered. Why did it matter? Why 1961 instead of 1867? Why Everett, Washington? Why a Scottish/Norwegian/tiny bit Native American female born to Mike and Lonnie?
I read the following words, and saw the reason. “… that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”
And in that way that your mind races when God is whispering to your heart, I realized how beautifully gracious He had been to me. Because He had looked over all time and creation to find the exact set of circumstances — era, race, gender, nationality, family —in which to place me. Because those were the exact set of circumstances in which my heart would be the softest toward Him, and my conscious need the greatest. If the prairie would have done it for me, if my mother had needed to be Caroline instead of Lonnie, if that would have made me want God more and reach for Him harder, then that’s where I would have been placed.
But I’m here now. And I did reach for and find Him … just as He knew I would.