No matter what our constraints in life, can we say like the Psalmist:
“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance”
If we have faith in Jesus Christ and have repented of our sins, we are adopted as daughters of God. (John 3:16) If this is so, then all things are working together for our good and sanctifying us. Romans 8:28 says All.Things.
This means that the unsightly carpet and the dings in your living room walls are a constraint for you to trust God with your home. You can take the best care possible, make the most of what you have, and be joyfully hospitable.
It means that even if you haven’t met the man you hope to marry, to use the years of singleness as a time to wholeheartedly grow and live for Christ. That is not a loss!
It means that even though you have never felt busier going nowhere, (aka mothering toddlers) you recognize you are doing eternal work as you sow God’s word, love, and discipline into their little lives.
It means that even if your grown child is wayward, you keep praying, speaking truth, and loving them. How does this constraint drive you on in your own pursuit of God?
This means the affliction in your body is a tool he can use (as you submit to him in it) to make you more holy and give you a depth of perspective and growth you had not known before.
It means that even if you suffer for the sake of the gospel, you can–like the apostles in Acts, rejoice that you are counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s name. I suspect the joy which comes here is unmatched on earth.
These are boundary lines. They are lovely limitations, to borrow a term from one author.
God in his sovereignty brings circumstances into our lives. Some events happen upon us and some we walk into. Regardless, it is a comfort to know God has ordered our steps and HE places the boundary lines in our path to hem us in– before and behind. (Psalm 139)
Wherever our boundary lines fall can we, like the psalmist, call them pleasant?
The answer is YES we can, no matter what they are!
I recall this quote often when I may struggle to see my boundary lines as pleasant:
“Thanksgiving is not what we fight for, it’s what we fight with.”
In a nutshell, gratitude is a weapon or a safeguard of our faith. Philippians 3:1.
Where you struggle to see God’s kindness, look harder with eyes of gratitude! Reframe your hard circumstances with thanksgiving. What can you thank God for in the situation that is breaking your heart? Can you search to see God’s kindness where you feel afflicted? Is the affliction actually God’s pruning and disciplining you toward obedience?
Thanksgiving is what we fight WITH. It is a powerful tool in living contentedly in Christ. He is good to his children. He knows exactly what he is doing in us and if we lean into the lessons and trust and thank him through them, we can be grateful for what each day brings.
What a great season to count our thanks and give praise to God! Let’s do that this November and beyond.
In Christ, Erika