Right time, Right place!
While debating the philosophers of Athens (see Acts 17) Paul makes an innocent enough sounding statement almost in passing yet when considered more deeply we find it to be very profound and impactful indeed!
Paul and Silas had recently preached the gospel in Thessalonica. While some came to faith in Christ as Messiah an upstart mob staunchly opposed their message and stirred up the populace against them. Consequently, and under cover of night, the Thessalonian believers sent Paul and Silas off to nearby Berea. The Bereans received the gospel very well, but some of the Thessalonian rowdies also came to Berea and again stirred up trouble so that Paul had to leave there also.
Paul now found himself in Athens awaiting Silas and also Timothy to join him. While he waited he noticed the abundance of idols in that city and preached and debated Christ in the synagogue and marketplace. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with Paul and soon invited him to present his ideas to others at the Areopagus, a rock hill were high governmental councils met.
In part, he told them,
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands… He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 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.” (Acts 17:24-26)
Of course he said much more, but this is the bit that relates to our message this past Sunday… a message about seeing our trials from a new perspective.
Paul has said that God, our Creator, has
• made all the nations…
• marked out their appointed times in history…
• [established] the boundaries of their lands.
This means God has created you. He has appointed you to live in this current era and established the place of your birth! None of these happened by chance or accident. God has a purpose and a plan for your existence… now… here.
When we realize God also allows or disallows all the uncontrollable [by us] events that come into our lives, that He has all power and authority over the devil, and that He orchestrates all things according to His infinite Wisdom, we have great reason to take confidence in Him. Our trials are no surprise to God. Our part is to seek Him for the strength and the courage we need day by day.