August 31, 2023
God Isn’t Asking Us To Hold It All Together
DR. JOEL MUDDAMALLE
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“He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:27 (CSB)
If there is one thing that makes me uncomfortable, it’s uncertainty.
When faced with uncertain situations, I tighten my grip on anything I can, just trying to hold all the pieces together. If I can keep things under control, maybe I can keep things from falling apart.
The problem is: The more I realize all that is outside my control, the more panicked I become.
As a Christian, I want to trust God wholeheartedly. I want to surrender into His capable hands my desperate desire for control. But if I’m honest, the minute things feel uncertain, I’m more propelled to feel scared than I am to remember God’s sovereignty.
Can you relate?
In processing this, I found myself in Acts 17. Here, we find Paul speaking to the people of Athens at the Areopagus. The Areopagus was a place filled with uncertainty. People would gather and talk for hours, trying to understand and solve the issues of humanity like religion, politics, family, etc. In this context of unknowns and a fair amount of anxiety, Paul said these assuring and comforting words:
“The God who made the world and everything in it—he is Lord of heaven and earth—does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. From one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:24-27, CSB).
This passage highlights hope-filled truths about God:
- He is Lord of heaven and earth. In other words, He is the King of all things.
“Sovereignty” is simply defined as God’s authority, rule, reign and control over everything. Even when we are shaken by what we face, God never is. God’s sovereignty is meant to bring us peace, not make us feel more out of control.
- God is the source of life. The source of life needs nothing because He sustains all He creates.
God has determined the “appointed times and the boundaries” of our existence (Acts 17:26, CSB). We could have been born at 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. This can bring us peace when we endure both good and hard times.
Friend, if you’re paralyzed with fear around the uncertain situations in your life today, here’s what I want you to know: We can respond to the uncertainty of life with certainty in God’s plan and purpose for us.
Paul says the purpose of life is that we might reach out, find God, and come to realize He was never far from us (Acts 17:27). Though our uncertainty may make us feel like we’re in darkness, God is the light that is with us and guides us.
What we’re facing may be making us uncomfortable, but the God of all comfort is right here with us (2 Corinthians 1:3). As believers, we can count on the certainty of God’s nearness. Theologian Charles Spurgeon says it this way: “God is near, and therefore hope is near.”
Are you battling sickness? God is near. Hope is near.
Are you riddled with fear and anxiety? God is near. Hope is near.
Are you in a tough parenting season? God is near. Hope is near.
Are you waiting for a prayer to be answered? God is near. Hope is near.
Even in uncertainty, we can keep moving forward with steps of faith, trusting that every detail of our lives is held in the firm and faithful hands of our heavenly Father.
Lord, You are the King of kings and Ruler over all. Help that truth resonate 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.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Since God is sovereign and knows what’s going to happen, why should I pray? It may be tempting to think about prayer in a defeated way or question if God will even respond. But, friend, take heart — the power of prayer does change things. Lysa TerKeurst and Dr. Joel Muddamalle want to help you gain a deeper understanding of God’s intent behind prayer and equip you to pray faithfully in your own life. That’s why they created a free resource called “Consider This: Do Our Prayers Change God’s Mind?” Download it here!
Stay connected with Joel through his website, Instagram and Facebook. Tune in every Tuesday on Instagram for “Theology Talk Tuesday,” where Joel answers your most-asked questions about God, the Bible and more.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 145:18-19, “The LORD is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them” (CSB).
How is God’s nearness encouraging you in what you’re walking through in this season? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2023 by Dr. Joel Muddamalle. All rights reserved.