Seasons of Growth, Part 6: Placement

Seasons of Growth, Part 6: Placement

As spring reluctantly strolls into Crystal Lake, I begin again to think about my garden. I’m looking forward to expanding my garden this year and growing all the same wonderful foods again and asking the Lord for another abundant harvest. This week, we finally planted our cold weather vegetables.

When planning a garden, the farmer selects a sunny location so that plants will grow. When the soil is tilled and the barriers to growth are removed, each item is planted at the right time and with proper spacing. In my other posts, I have discussed the various factors that contribute to growth. No one plans a death garden, where soil is never conditioned and plants are neglected and left to die and rot. People who plant gardens want growth and life and fruit. Gardeners are intentional toward growth. Our God is like a landowner who plants a garden. God cares for us much in the same way that we care for a piece of earth.

“From one man, he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. ‘His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.'”
— Acts 17:26-28a

1. God Chooses Our Location

Just as I select a piece of ground based on its proclivity to produce a harvest, God determines where we live so that we will also bear fruit. Acts 17:26 says that God has determined where we live, with the purpose of bearing fruit. The fact that we live in Chicagoland is not a product of random chance nor of carefully aligned circumstances coming together. It’s not a result of our nailing that interview and landing a job here. Ultimately, it is the result of God’s placement of us right here in this neighborhood, in this county, in this state, in this nation, at this exact time. Regardless of our circumstances, we can rest assured that God has placed us here for one purpose, found in verse 27: that we may seek after God, even if it feels like we are groping along blindfolded. In the process of seeking God, even though it may seem like He has deserted us, He is not far from any of us. His spirit is inside of us as believers, and we live and move and exist in Him and because of Him.

2. God Chooses Our Circumstances

We know that God is love (1 John 4:16) and works all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). Verse 26 tells us that God determined in eternity past when the nations should rise and fall, whether or not a nation is in power and for how long. His sovereignty extends from the nations into our lives as well. Is your life full of good circumstance, bad circumstance, or just circumstance? My point here is not that labels of good and bad are irrelevant, for certain events are truly evil. My point is that God is unchanging in our ever-changing circumstances. We must always pursue Him in spite of our reactions to our circumstances. Our blessings sometimes “come through raindrops” (Laura Story). Our focal point must shift from the circumstances themselves upward to the God who ordained it all. Our focal point determines our response. If our focal point is downward, what we see is a mirage of trouble. When we shift our focal point, the entire picture changes.

In the three pictures below, the first two represent a focal point on our circumstances. We fail to see the heavenly calling we have in Christ. The third represents a God-ward shift in focus. The entire picture changes and growth begins, as we embrace both the sunlight and the rain which He sends.

3. God Chooses Us

Stop and think about that. God chooses us! In a similar way, I choose whether to plant jalapenos or snow peas for a specific purpose, and God chooses us for the specific purpose of His glory. Because of His great love, He chose us to live and move and have our being in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1). God will have dozens of people who glorify His name and worship Him unceasingly throughout all ages (Revelation 4, 5, 19; Ephesians 3:21). Each of these believers will have experienced both good and bad circumstances and perhaps even true suffering as they are conformed to the image of Christ. God’s love for us changes us for our good and His glory in this life and the next.

Food for thought:

  1. How are you viewing your circumstances?
  2. What is happening in your life right now causing you to seek God?

by Heather Soukup, Director of Women’s Ministries

Seasons of Growth Series:

Part 1: Seasons of Growth
Part 2: Fruit Bearing
Part 3: Harvest
Part 4: Fallow
Part 5: Seeds
Part 6: Placement
Part 7: Unless We Suffer