Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On loving boundaries

In the beginning, God spoke and he drew boundaries

between light and darkness,
between sky and sea,
between land and water.

Before the sun and the moon and the stars. Before the first signs of life. He drew boundaries. Three out of six days, he established the corners of the earth and sky and seas. He saw that they were good.

Then, for the next three days he filled these empty spaces with beauty and life.
And there was no life outside these boundaries.

There was a time when "boundary" was a bad word in my book. Limitations held me back. Rules prevented me from doing all I wanted to do and be all I wanted to be. And I was wrong. I had the wrong images of how God's boundaries looked like. He rules not in the way of mortal kings.

His Word is not like a fence, keeping us away from something. Rather, the Lord's instruction is like a trellis, or better yet, strong thick pillar, columns that uphold the four corners of the universe. If a vine holds fast, it will go far. It will reach places it has never been. If a vine grows apart from the pillar, it will die due to the lack of light.

We must learn to love boundaries. Love boundaries -- not merely tolerate, not avoid, not test, not question, not add our own fences around the boundaries.  But we must hold fast to the Word of God because he gives life.

A couple of weeks ago, Hans took me to a home improvement store and asked me to pick a trough. A what? What am I to do with a trough? My fingers of death (or non-green-thumb) and I were beyond skeptical.

But my husband was kind, and he was insistent, so I drew a deep breath, and I picked one out. When we got home, I was completely won over. Two weeks later, I am in love with the mini garden on my balcony. Now, I am dreaming of the day when I can have my own vegetable garden. Who knew?

He did, apparently.

My husband knows me. He knew that I would love this gift. In some ways, he knows me better than I know myself.

Sometimes, we do not understand the Lord's instructions and the limitations he established on our lives. We question his will. Why is this happening? What is that rule for? We are beyond skeptical.

Sometimes, understanding follows obedience. We may not at first understand the boundaries that he sets, but we must obey anyway. We obey, in hopes to understand. We believe, while seeking understanding. We do not merely tolerate, or question, or avoid, or test, or add to his Word.

We must hold fast to his Word. We may not fully understand his purposes, but we can rest in our knowledge of him, and his steadfast love for us.

The Lord knows us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. We can rest in him.

Emeth wrote his first song the other day, "When God Loves You, Obey God."
God, your God,
obey God,
obey parent, with you.
God, your God,
obey (musical notes) parent, with you.
He sang it to auntie Jean Jean. He said, "This is not really the song I want to write, but I want to remember this when I grow up." This kid. "He is our God, we are his people."

Though I don't fully understand Emeth's song, I find it strangely comforting. I may not understand all of the Lord's instructions, but I know that Christ has gone before me in his obedience, and he has fulfilled all righteousness.

So, I follow,
and I obey, with you.


E! said...

precocious one :) when i clicked the link I was stunned for a good few seconds. I thought the whole post was his poem.

E! said...

you can have your own veggie garden NOW. container gardening on your balcony. make it emeth's job til you can task him with praying for your chickens =)

Irene Sun said...

=) Glad that I can count on you for putting crazy ideas into my head. Perhaps next year. A garden on my balcony. =)

Laura Sowers said...

This is so beautifully written, and so true.

Jean Tsen said...

Ahh...the flowers *are* satisfyingly pleasing to the eye.

Irene Sun said...

Jean/Shin, Thanks for picking them with me!!! You spotted them first.