Understanding Place


Just the word itself conjures up various images in my mind. Place is the house I spent almost 22 years of my life growing up in. Place is the room in which I spent hours building Lego’s and Lincoln Logs. It is the pond behind my house where I would fish with friends and skate on during the colder winter months.

But Place is more than this. Place also involves time. It involves the people you interact and share yourself with. It involves the little nuances that make each space unique. Place is a unique, God-given space. Thats right…place is God-given.

For this reason, Place is something that should have value in our lives. If God has put us where we are, in a particular place and time, He has done it with purpose. He has set you in this Place in His Divine Wisdom. There was no mistake.

When you and I see Place as an act of Divine Wisdom, we can begin to understand why ‘where we are’ is so important. We begin to see why discontentment is so dangerous. We begin to see purpose. Place is important because it is important to God. Therefore, since it is important to God, it should be important to us as well.

I was recently asked to write a paper which I analyzed and described a particular place. This included the people, the location and a slew of other details which would bore you if I wrote them here. As I read through the syllabus, something surprised me. One of the criteria read as follows:

“The student described his other selected context in a manner that artfully reflected the beauty and common grace present in that place.”

The beauty and common grace present in that place. Stop and think about this phrase. There is beauty and common grace where we are currently. In the midst of what may appear to be “the worst place you or I could possibly be,” there, even there, beauty and common grace abounds. We just can’t see it because we haven’t spent the time looking for it.

Have we looked at our present Place searching for beauty and common grace? Do we value the context in which we have been currently placed?

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