December 13, 2020

Acts 17:26-27

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. 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.



Experiencing God’s presence this year has been a mystery at times. My wife (Kelsey) and I have experienced both God’s incredible closeness and also what feels like his mysterious distance. There have been times where we’ve seen God work in amazing ways! But we’ve also experienced loss and grief in our lives and with those around us. So where do we see God in those moments?
Paul shares with the people of Athens in Acts 17 that God desires for all people to know Him and seek after Him. Not only that, but He is also near to all people – even in the times that they don’t know, perceive, or understand. What a powerful truth! His invitation is to come experience His presence that is always near to us. That’s incredibly comforting to think about.
If I’m honest, though, this invitation has actually been challenging and uncomfortable at times this year. There have been moments when we have to ask, “Where is God’s moving and working here?” Kelsey and I have found out that a question like that sometimes requires a lot of patience and waiting . . . On a completely related note, I’ve also learned that waiting isn’t a one of my top strengths.
But it’s been in the times of waiting this year that we’ve been stretched and shaped by God the most. I’ve been stuck on the Hillsong tune “Seasons” these last few months. Check out the chorus:
Though the winter is long,
even richer the harvest it brings
Though my waiting prolongs,
even greater Your promise for me,
like a seed I believe that my season will come
Kelsey and I still have a ton of questions in our waiting, but we’re reminded that God is working and moving. His invitation to us is to come and seek after Him in that mystery.
God is still near to us – and that’s worth hoping in this Advent season.

— Tyler Marple