I am always intrigued about the reason a village, town or city is populated to the extent that it is. We stayed in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park with our family during the Whitsun break this year. The villages of the moors are found mainly in the valleys, and we found ourselves in a small village by the name of Rosedale Abbey. Our home for the week was a bunkhouse attached to the small village school. The school playground sits between the school/bunkhouse building and the only village church that has not been turned into a fancy residence.
Doors to the church are left open during the day and I took a look inside. I had assumed that the village was purely an agricultural settlement, but between about 1850 and the late 1920s the population reached a maximum of 3,000 due to an influx of miners and their families who were involved in a relatively short-lived ironstone industry. These days there are holiday homes and caravan sites in Rosedale Abbey. These support a couple of shops and three pubs with restaurants. I am guessing that some of the permanent residents do still work the land, while the remainder have moved into the National Park because it seems like a good place to live, despite the sometimes inclement weather and the narrowness of the roads.
The National Park is a beautiful place. More beautiful on a clear day with the sun shining, but beautiful any day in my eyes. But then I don’t have to live here or make a living here. If I had to choose a National Park to live in I think I’d prefer one on the coast, ideally the Pembroke Coast National Park in West Wales.
One of the mysteries of life is that we do not choose either to be born or where we are born, or for that matter where we live while we are children. Even as adults the choice of where to live is often the result of circumstance and governed by factors such as family, university, and employment. If I had a choice I would return to my childhood home of Guernsey, but I know that is not practical.
I don’t know why I had the good fortune to be born into a loving family who conveniently lived in Great Britain, which continues to be a relatively prosperous country. I do know that I am who I am and where I am because God ordained it. I don’t understand the whys and wherefores, but I do know that I am here for a reason. Just like the few hundred residents of Rosedale Abbey, and just like every reader of this blog. We might not know or understand but God does. And that’s the point. We humans were not created to manage without being in relationship with God. So it is always a bit of a puzzle to me that so many of us turn our backs on Him. Are you living life looking at God, or is it only your back He can see?
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man- made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs – for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 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.” (Acts 17:24-27 NLT)