Where We’re Meant To Be

What brought you to the city or the community where you live now?

It’s a question I’ve been thinking about and talking about with others lately, and it’s interesting to consider.

For me, work led me to the city where I live. I would have gone anywhere in Scotland, but this was the opportunity that arose, and so I moved to a place where I knew no-one, hoping it would work out.

As for the community I live in, the reason was affordability and convenience. There was no sense of call or of God’s leading; it was a practical decision, and yet, as I look back and consider the question of why I am here, it seems that, on a deeper level, God was leading without me even realising.

I had been praying for a church community where I could belong, and five years ago I made the decision to join a new church plant in my area. I was hesitant and apprehensive, but as I considered the possibility, God stirred my heart for my community and I knew I had to be a part of it.

Five years on, God has answered my prayer in ways I’d never have expected. And as I imagine what the lockdowns of the past sixteen months would have been like in some of my previous living situations, I’m so grateful they happened when I was here!

I’ve noticed a similar theme in some of my conversations with others. They didn’t necessarily feel led by God, but in hindsight they can see that they were. There’s a woman who has moved around for years, running from a difficult past, until she came to our community, where she found Jesus and has decided to stay. There’s a family who had been about to leave for the other side of the world when their son got sick, and while they don’t feel called here long-term, it’s obvious how God is using them here in the meantime.

The more I think about it, the more I think that God places us where we need to be – whether short-term or long-term – to teach us or to use us in his work. Several years ago, I ended up living in a particular place for just under a year. It was not an easy time. The reason for going was an opportunity I had been promised which then failed to materialise, there were challenges I’d never have foreseen, and I didn’t feel like I belonged at all.

And yet, in that difficult year, God was powerfully at work – healing, transforming, bringing all kinds of things to the surface so I could deal with them. The thing that blows my mind is that there was someone else he brought to the same church at the same time. This man also came under difficult circumstances, obviously wounded from his previous church, and yet he was exactly the person I needed to teach me some of the lessons I needed to learn. Our past experiences meant that he understood aspects of me that no-one else did, and as someone older and wiser I was able to learn so much from him.

Neither of us particularly wanted to be there, and around a month after I left, he moved permanently to Australia. I may never see him again, but I’m convinced that those months when we found ourselves in the same place were not an accident!

We see it in Scripture too – God leading people to where they need to be.

Joseph finds himself in Egypt, through a series of difficult circumstances – but God uses him to save many people during a famine.

Esther “just happens” to find herself in the King’s palace – but later realises that she has been put there “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) to stand up for the Jews and save them from their enemies.

Philip is directed by the Holy Spirit to travel down a desert road – only to find an Ethiopian eunuch trying to understand the book of Isaiah and needing someone to come alongside him to help. (Acts 8:26-40)

Paul plans to travel to the province of Bithynia, but he is prevented by the Holy Spirit and then has a vision, calling him to Macedonia. (Acts 16:6-10) He travels there to preach the Good News, and sees many come to faith!

We don’t always understand God’s leading. We don’t always see why he has led us to a certain place. Often we don’t feel like he has led us at all! We may have lived in the same place all our lives, or we may have moved several times.

But it’s encouraging to think that, whatever our reasons for living in the place we do, God is ultimately in charge of where we live. He has placed us where he can teach us and use us, and, wherever we find ourselves, he has a purpose for us in that place.

What about you? Did you sense God leading you to the place where you live? How have you seen him at work in your situation?

Linking with: Inspire Me Monday, Tell His Story, InstaEncouragements, Let’s Have Coffee, Recharge Wednesday, #HeartEncouragement Community Link-Up, Grace & Truth

20 thoughts on “Where We’re Meant To Be

  1. Leslie, I appreciated this post. When I think of the time in which I live, I remind myself of Acts 17:25 – “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. God has not only placed me in the country and state I should live, He has also placed me in the time I should live. This helps me regain perspective and focus when current events fill me with worry. Thank you for reminding me once again, He has a purpose for each of us right now, right here! Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fascinating and oh so true, Lesley. There’s been so many times when the details were fuzzy at best, but I just knew God was doing something. For sure, these have been faith-stretching times, obeying, even though not having a clue what would happen next.

    He smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never heard anyone talk about this topic before! So glad for your encouraging words today. I have had those times when I’ve made decisions or circumstances placed me in a certain situation and hindsight allows me to see how God worked through them. I used to struggle with the thought that I had made so many mistakes in my life that I was so off
    the course God wanted for me…But I’ve realized that God isn’t waiting to show me what my life could have been if only I’d done this or that. He’s given us a certain freedom in Him, and He is with us always—working in His plan as only He can.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lesley, thank you for this blessed post. Great questions to ponder. As I look back I can see now that God has led me to be where he wanted me both short term and long term alike. As for currently for the past 7 years, it is here that my faith grew into a relationship with him. it is where 2 years ago he called me to write and share him. Blessings.
    ~Selah~

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so encouraging, Lesley … not just I look back at the places I’ve lived and how God has worked in me through them, but also as I think about the future and where we might end up after our girls are out of the house. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reminds me of Proverbs 16:9: “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” All of our moves have been due to my husband’s job. Some were welcome, some were not. With one in particular, I have no idea why God had us there. He used us to start a children’s ministry there, but that’s not an area where we’re particularly gifted–He could have used anybody. We did start some relationships there that continue on Facebook and included praying with one family whose son/grandson developed leukemia. When we moved here, we thought maybe God would put us in a neighborhood to be a witness for Him, but all our immediate neighbors profess to be Christians. But I trust He has reasons for every place He has had us whether its obvious to us or not. I hope in heaven we learn some of those things. That would be neat to see what behind-the-scenes things God was up to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it will be interesting to see the full picture of what God was doing. So often I think we’re unaware of how he is using us or exactly why he’s led us in a particular direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We decided to move where we are to stay close to family nearby. I’ve definitely felt the blessings of God here (and this is also where I needed to tap into his strength!). Beautiful post, Lesley. Such a blessing that the Lord has brought you the things you needed where he planted you. He’s good like that!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Astute observations, Lesley. I agree that we’re often unaware how God is directing our steps. Sometimes we can see his purpose later. Meanwhile, there is great comfort in your concluding statement: “He has placed us where he can teach us and use us, and, wherever we find ourselves, he has a purpose for us in that place.” Thank you, Lesley!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I wasn’t born where I live, but I spent most of my life in the same county. My husband grew up in our town, though. After we got married and started a family, we expected to live elsewhere, but we ended up at home. I don’t know if God led us here or not, but I do know He hasn’t called us to leave yet. While we’re here, I’ll use the gifts He’s given me for His glory in our church and community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think often God leads us without us even realising. Sometimes we can look back and see how he has guided our steps. Other times we just need to use our gifts to serve him, as you say, and trust that he will lead us to move on if he wants us to.

      Like

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