I have spent my entire life living in two inner city neighborhoods of Chicago (Humboldt Park and West Garfield Park). It is easy to believe that God has abandoned these two communities due to the poverty, crime, lack of education, absence of fathers and hopelessness. While many would want to avoid these two communities, I have come to understand God’s sovereignty in determining the boundaries of my dwelling place. God has invited me to be His presence for those seeking Him. God has invited me into His mission for those feeling their way towards Him.

“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:26-28)

Has God abandoned the hood? Of course not! Have Christians abandoned the hood? Sadly, in many ways we have. We have abandoned God’s mission for our momentary well being. We have focused on our desires before other people’s needs. We do not realize that our well being is tied up in the well being of those around us. We do not realize that we actually find life through death to our individualism.

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you…and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:7)

- Brian Dye