And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place that they should seek God, in all hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.

Acts 17: 26, 27

 

God has a rather singular plan for all people. He has used all of the structure of this world in order to work out this plan. Yet much that God has established and is doing lies beneath the surface. It is like the “Deeper Magic” that C. S. Lewis speaks about in The Tales of Narnia. It is there all of the time, but we are too stubborn, self-centered, and arrogant to grasp hold of it and to allow its freedom to rule our lives. We need the structure of The Law and the false power of our own rules and regulations in order to govern and to create order in our society.

 

Yet, we often fail to fully understand that the society that we live in is something that God has designed and established. All of our nations with their distinctive qualities, good ones and bad ones, are tools in God’s plan. We take pride in our place of citizenship, and we hold tightly to national allegiances. Their histories are held up as narratives that prove that this country or that region of the world is invested with a form of inherent rightness that exceeds and that supersedes all other groups of people. However, they are all fatally flawed. There is no righteous nation on this earth. None of their governments will stand up under God’s judgment, and no one will find salvation based upon a pledge of allegiance to an earthly flag.

 

Futility is the thing that God is using to bring us to Him. The more we strive to make our national cause victorious, the more we will encounter the sting of impossibility. This is the groping in the dark that Paul is describing in this conversation with the Greek philosophers. Underneath all of our societal and cultural striving is a desire to find a form of god, a supreme and eternal authority that successfully controls all of life. However, God is not hidden. He is here for us to embrace. He makes Himself known in and through all of creation, and the Lord reaches out His hand to everyone in every region and nation of the earth. This is God’s singular plan. He seeks out relationship with all people and with each of us. He calls to us to repent of our worship of false gods and turn to Him alone.