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Friday, March 25, 2016

Fenced in?

To care for something is more than just giving it a little attention now and again. I came home yesterday to find a beautiful husky just sitting on the curb outside my home.  At first I didn't know if she was friendly or going to be kind of stand-offish with me.  After pulling into the garage and seeing she didn't run away, I asked her to come over and to my surprise, she did!  She immediately cowered down, rolled over and let me give her a few good rubs, scratches, and a little ear jostling.  No tags, just a collar.  Someone obviously claimed her as a pet, but were they caring for her all that well?  Not at the moment! She was free to roam and now I had to decide where she needed to roam back to!  It didn't take me long to identify an open gate at a neighbor's home, recall they had two dogs, and then equate the open gate with the escaped dog.  What did take a while was getting them to open the door to actually tell them their dog was roaming the neighborhood!  Once they knew the dog had been out, they immediately went to the gate to see that it was secured.  The truth is pretty similar in some of our lives - we don't really know how much we care for something until it is about lost out from under our noses!

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always. He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name. (Psalm 23:1-3 VOICE)

Thank goodness God isn't like us!  He doesn't wait for one of us to "escape the confines" of the place he thinks we are to actually become concerned with where we are at the moment. In fact, he ensures the boundaries are secure before he ever places us there!  He does observe our cleverness in trying to escape those safety confines and he often reminds us in a gentle manner to remain within those confines.  God knows our whereabouts and our activities at every moment of the day - even when we think he may not be "watching" or really paying enough attention to "care about" whatever it is we are facing.

Mom wants to see me off in the mornings as I make my way into the garage and off to work.  We have a small step down in the garage about three to four feet away from the doorway. It doesn't seem like much, but when you are legally blind even a three to four inch drop-off can be your undoing - especially when your balance is also compromised by age!  I often tell her I will not pull away from the garage until I see she is safely back up on the stoop and near the door itself. Why?  I hate thinking she could be out there all day if she stumbles and cannot get up.  It hasn't happened yet, but there is always that potential she will slightly misjudge the location of that step and down she goes!  God knows where we have the potential for any misstep or misjudged step in life.  He is watchful over us to ensure we aren't getting too close to the edge of what could spell certain disaster, or at least compromised safety for us.  He isn't content to just let us be "on our own" without also providing some level of continual "oversight" for the path we are on.

In the case of the dog escaped from the yard, nothing bad happened because she didn't wander far from the security of her yard.  She did get a little taste of "freedom" though, so she might be tempted to do it again and again. It is kind of like that for us in life - we push the envelope a little and get a little taste of something which is maybe a little different than we expected, but it also doesn't "burn us too badly" when we are outside of those safety confines God has placed, so we want to do it again.  We might want to "push the envelope" a little more and more until we get burned bad enough to stop what it is we are doing.  As with the neighbor's dog, "gates" and "fences" can be breached - God won't keep us from what we are determined to do.  He will not enforce his will over ours. If the neighbor were to force his will over the dog's, he might chain her to a stake driven way into the ground, as well as place her within the confines of the fence and gate.  That would eventually break her will!  God isn't into breaking our will, but he is into teaching us to trust his will!

His will places the boundaries for our safety.  Our will has to decide if we will stay within them.  His will determines the breadth of our "safety zone", but our will has to determine to exercise our choices within that zone if we are to remain in a place of safety.  Our will to choose doesn't cease to exist just because we come under the care of another - we just submit our will to the watchfulness and care of the other!  Just sayin!