“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.”
In this chapter of Acts, Paul is in Athens, a city in Greece that is well known for its many temples to mythological gods. Paul was there to teach the gospel of Jesus. While he was there, he found a temple that was dedicated to an unknown God. You see, the people of Greece had many temples to many gods, but they weren’t sure they had them all. To be safe, they built a temple to the unknown god, so that whoever he or she was, they wouldn’t be angry that they were overlooked.
Paul saw this and used it to show them that even they knew that they were missing something. He said that this was evidence of the one, true God. He explained to them that God created everything and that he doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. He tells them that God has been the one who has allotted all peoples in history their time and place and that he did so in such a way that they might seek him. That’s where this verse comes in. Paul says that God planned all things so that people might look for him, might reach out to find him. Paul says that the Athenians’ temple to the unknown god is evidence of their reaching out for the true God.
Then he says something that gives us a lot of hope. He says that God has purposely worked in a way that would encourage people to look for him and reach out for him – and he is never far away from any of us. When we go looking and searching, when we are seeking him out, he isn’t far away. He isn’t going to make you search high and low, he’s waiting for you right where you are.
So wherever you are and whatever your life has looked like, know that God is working to spur you towards him. Whatever it is that you’re trying to satisfy your life with, it will never fill the longing you have for God. He placed it in you so that you might reach out to him. So do it, reach out, seek him. He isn’t far away, he never is.
Thank you for placing the desire for you in each of us. I know that everyone, as your own creation, is looking for you in one way or another. Reveal yourself to us in our lives, and help us as we reach out for you. I know we’re often reaching blindly, but I know that you’re not far away, and you’ll meet us where we are. Thank you for that.
In Jesus’ Name,