In April 2015, billionaire Bill Gates tweeted that if he had been born in Ghana, his life expectancy would be seven years shorter. The Twitterverse was not amused. In response, some tweeted that if he had been born in Ghana, it wasn’t just his life expectancy that would have changed. People reminded him that changing geographic locations may have made him $80 billion poorer.

A mentor once told me that there was a surefire way of knowing whether or not you were in the right place. His advice was to ask a simple question: “Is there provision there?” It’s an excellent question to consider. Does God provide for us when we are in the right geographic location?

God calls Elijah to leave his home

There is a Biblical example of this; the first one that comes to mind is that of Elijah, who was fed by ravens. God told Elijah to leave where he was, go east and hide by the brook Kerith, east of the Jordan River. Once Elijah arrived at the right spot, God did something miraculous. God directed the ravens to supply the prophet with food while he was there. The ravens brought him bread and meat, and Elijah drank water from a brook.

The brook eventually dried up, but once the water evaporated, another message came to Elijah. It was time for him to leave. His provision was gone, and so was his time at Cherith. God told Elijah to go to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. Another miracle was unfolding. Instead of a raven, God directed a widow to supply Elijah with food.

If Elijah had stayed at the brook, he might have died of thirst. His assignment in that place was over. God told him to move, and he did. I often wonder how many people struggle with thirst (metaphorically speaking) because they are in the wrong place.

Perhaps they were assigned to a place at one point, and then God told them to move and they didn’t. Or, maybe they were never assigned to a location but assigned the place to themselves. Nevertheless, the message is clear - it’s not just what you do that matters, but where you do it.

The Garden of Eden

When God created Adam, God had a specific place in mind for him. He knew where Adam would stay. Adam’s assignment was in the Garden of Eden. However, it wasn’t just the physical location of Adam that mattered to God - Adam’s spiritual location mattered as well.

When humanity fell into the murky depths of sin by eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve’s sin created a chasm between them and God. God acknowledged the distance by asking one of the most profound questions in scripture: “Adam, where are you?”

God knew Adam's physical location - the locality of Adam was a spiritual question, and when Adam became spiritually lost, he also lost his place in the Garden of Eden. His spiritual displacement caused a shift in his geographic location.

Throughout the Bible, it’s not unusual to see people assigned to specific geographic places. Abraham was appointed to the region that is now Israel, and God told Abraham's son Isaac: “Do not go down to Egypt, but dwell in the land I shall tell you.” God even promised Isaac blessings if he remained in the right geographic location.

Jonah was assigned to Nineveh, and we all know what happened when he refused to go where God told him to go. Lot made a costly mistake when he chose to settle in Sodom near Gomorrah. And Jesus knew exactly where he was supposed to be at all times. At one point, we learn that Jesus had to go to Samaria because he had a specific assignment there.

We all have assignments in specific locations. Some of us are in the right place, and some of us are in the wrong place. It’s important to know where you’re supposed to be, because where you are matters.

Kiah Wakefield is as a writer, certified Christian life coach and theologian. Find her at bohotheo.org

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