“God who made the world and everything in it… gives all men life and breath and everything else…He determined the times set for them and determined where they should live… God did this that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him though He is not far from any of us.”
-Dr. Luke, the Physician in a letter to his friend, Theopholis at Rome in about 50 A.D.
“Slow down, take a breath!” I heard the father challenge his teenage son who may have been a high school football player and as hungry as a growing young boy can be. I could not help but remember a dozen years ago when two neighborhood boys, friends of our daughters, would stop by our house usually on their way home and were welcomed to ‘grab a snack’ to tide them over until they got home (about three more houses down the street!). When they hit the refrigerator it was as if Tasmanian devil had blown through.
A few years later both of those young men were with the Marines in the assault wave of Desert Storm and I prayed they would someday raid our refrigerator. Praise God they did .
So… take a breath…right now, I want you, as the doctor might say as she presses the metal stethoscope (the one they store in the freezer) against your back, “Take a deep breath in and let it out slowly.” (Go ahead, I’ll wait.)
How was that? Difficult? Maybe, if you have COPD it could be difficult, but for most of you; a fairly simple task. But did you ever stop to think that you cannot do that on your own? According to Scripture, only God can give you breath. Without His, OK, you could not take that breath. The next time you feel like you have nothing for which to thank God, ‘Slow down, take a breath!’
Another part of this same verse from the Book of Acts makes it clear that God sets our time on earth and where we will live. In the large picture it may be that God determined in times past what descendants of Noah would live in what parts of the earth as He drove them away after the Tower of Babel fiasco. But notice, the tense of the verb there, “determines” where they should live. It is in the perfect tense, an on-going action. The home within which you grew up was by God’s design. A good beginning or a difficult one; that home was God’s choice for you for His special purpose in your life. He cannot be blamed for the pain and suffering you endured, that is of man’s doing but He knew you through those times and He stands ready to help you use those very hard times to help someone else.
Two verses in Scripture remind us of these truths. First, in Jeremiah 1, God tells Jeremiah that He “knew him in his mother’s womb” and He knew the plans He had for the prophet. Then Paul writes to the Corinthian church and tells them that the God of all comfort who comforts us as we go through all manner of trials does so that we might comfort others with that same comfort that we have received.