Over the weekend we were driving home from Michigan along I-80, a corridor filled with semi-trucks and lots of traffic. This stretch has never been my favorite and I dread it because the large trucks tend to creep outside their lane markers and come very close to other vehicles. These lane markers, the dotted white lines, are often lost on the pavement during the winter. The white lines blend in with all the salt on the roads. I don’t know if it because the lines are not as visible, or maybe it’s windy or they are tired, or maybe the drivers are simply distracted on their long drives across the country that causes the “drift” into other lanes of traffic. Scary to be sure and it makes me want to get past their large trailers all the more quickly to get safely through to the other side.
The white lines on the roads are there for order and safety as we drive and go about our days. According to wikipedia, they were developed in the early 1900s to keep cars on their own side of the road after there had been accidents. (Ok, how many of you already know where I am going with this? Stick with me) Safety from accidents, injury and even death is still the point of all the different lane marking on roadways today.
As we were driving home, watching the drifting of large trucks down I-80, I felt a nudge from God. I provide lane markers for you, safe boundaries that are put in place so that you can follow me. Those boundaries are God’s safety net, helping to prevent me from sinning, helping to keep me on the path he calls me in to, keeping me from harming myself or someone else. Imagine that. I never quite thought of it that way.
Psalm 16 is a psalm about how in God there is refuge, safety, delight and security. God’s words, not mine. Beautiful words that speak of boundary lines in pleasant places, pleasant and for our benefit. It is a really lovely psalm, I hope you take time to read it.
What does this psalm mean to me in relation to the boundaries God sets for me? He sets them so that I can continue to grow, to see the blessings from being obedient to his commands. Sometimes it can be tempting to step on that white line, to maybe go over it just a little bit and when I do step over the line, of my own free will, I leave the pleasant place God has designed just for me. Now sometimes I don’t even notice I’ve stepped over and sometimes it can feel or seem quite pleasing over the line (Satan loves that) but then I notice my joy is gone, anxiety and worry begin in my soul and I can tell I have left the pleasant boundaries God designed for me.
What to do? I turn back to God in prayer and repentance, asking for his forgiveness and mercy and I begin again to stay between the lines. We all drift, it’s in our nature, none of us is perfect, but I really want pleasant places, a delightful inheritance, rejoicing and joy. I am so grateful I have these things in Christ. These are my blessings.
How have you drifted outside the pleasant boundaries God has designed for you? Will you turn back and receive his grace today. What in Psalm 16 resonates for you? I pray you will take a moment and turn this psalm back to God in prayer.