Boundaries




To the corner

Originally uploaded by jon.swanson

Most of the people around me are going through changes. One guy is looking for a new job after a rough patch. As I walked to my office to write this post, I heard about a guy having triple bypass surgery tomorrow. People are in the hospital, people are looking for new jobs people are hearing about cancer, people are in wrecked marriages, people are trying to figure out what the next step is.

Many of these people are running into a no parking sign. They just want to stop, to pull over, to plant themselves right here, right now. And there seems to be no rest, no break, no end to the change.

So how do I reconcile the experiences of all of these people, myself included, with David who writes, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6?

No wonder people get frustrated with God, and get frustrated when well-meaning people pat their hand and say, “It’s okay. It’s your portion. You’ll be fine.” I read David’s words and I think of Jesus, in the garden, hours before His death saying, “Dad, if this cup could be taken away, I’d be relieved.” His cup? A cup of death, of immodest death with excruciating pain.

So the cup isn’t always full of fresh-brewed coffee.

However. some observations.

1. No parking from here to corner means that there are places to park. Just not here. Behind, around the corner, up the street are many places to stop, places away from the intersection which is a dangerous place to park. Maybe I’m trying to stop short of the place I’m supposed to be, I’m equipped to be, I’m called to be.

2. Because Jesus drank that cup of death, I don’t have to. That’s a theological statement which I’ll explain sometime, perhaps, but even that sentence answers my statement of comparison. The cup that He was able to drink, at the direction of His Dad, was far stronger than I, not being fully God and fully man, will have to drink.

3. David’s life was not pain-free. Some of it he caused himself, some of it came from others. His boss chased him all over and tried to kill him, son chased him all over and tried to kill him, baby died, didn’t get to build the temple for God. So it is in the context of real life that he writes about God’s provision.

4. I don’t have to come up with the answers. If GOD is handling the housing assignments, dividing up the territory, then I don’t have to explain HIm, I need to help people have conversations with Him.

That’s why, when I am paying attention, I’ll ask people what they are asking God and will make suggestions about those conversations. Rather than offering my advice, which is not always that good, I want to help people go to the source.

I don’t like no parking signs. They make me feel rebellious, somehow. But they exist. They establish some of the boundaries. But usually they are pointing out the unpleasant places. So maybe I better keep following the signs.

One response to “Boundaries

  1. “No parking from here to corner means that there are places to park. Just not here. Behind, around the corner, up the street are many places to stop, places away from the intersection which is a dangerous place to park. Maybe I’m trying to stop short of the place I’m supposed to be, I’m equipped to be, I’m called to be.”…encouraging words. Thanks.