This past weekend we were caring for my girlfriends little dog while they were away on vacation. She is a little toy poodle who is fearful of most everything. She jumps at noises, runs from flies, and trembles when she is taken from her surroundings. It was a relatively uneventful weekend with her, however halfway through day 2 I began to notice a new boldness as she discovered the entire backyard was fenced. The fence made her feel safe, a boundary from the unknown. She was safe to run and chase all the birds, knowing nothing on the outside would get in.
That fence had me thinking of God. He lovingly provides boundaries for our protection, not to limit us, but rather to allow us to flourish under His tender love and care. This invisible fence protects from the outside forces that can cause us harm or situations God does not desire for our lives.
Funny how a little dog gave me some clarity of the fences God has put around my life. Just as recently as Wednesday, the fence was there for me, God even reminded me of it first thing in the morning and in this instance I choose to ignore. I had been instructed to limit my walking for 3 weeks because of a tendon issue in the bottom of my foot. The doctor gave me a cortisone shot, the instructions and off I went. Clear instructions to be sure, with subtle reminders from God. In this instance, I stepped outside the fence and walked a little more than I should have and today, am suffering the consequences with a little more pain than usual. Lesson learned loud and clear!
God, in His infinite wisdom, knows everything about us. Psalm 139 is a great psalm that speak of His knowledge of our tendencies, of how He hems us in, and how He is there to provide guidance and direction for our benefit.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. (Ps 139:2-5)
There is comfort in those words. The boundaries are not there to restrict us, but rather to allow us to flourish where He has placed us. A means of protection so we can grow and our faith can be strengthened. A time to heal, to be made whole, to discover how much He loves us. But the best part of God’s fence, He knows our desires. He has lovingly made us and understands how we are wired. But He also knows when the timing is right for the fence to be made wider, out territory to grow, and He also knows when it is best to shrink our territory so we can focus on something close at hand.
For me, God is teaching me to slow down. To trust and rely on His timing for my life. I like to think big and move quickly, but then I often miss the opportunities placed before me. God is teaching me to yield and abide to His timing, to be an eager participant inside the fence He places around me for my protection and His glory.
What is your fence? Will you choose to see it, not as a means to restrict your life, but as a chance to flourish where God has placed you? With Him, you will flourish and be blessed because:
God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)