Monthly Archives: April 2008

Boundary Lines

People move forward in their lives to the point where they encounter fear, pain or disappointment. Then they take a step back and that point becomes the boundary-line of their lives. They don’t move beyond. The longer a person lives, the more of these boundaries he will encounter. Eventually, life is like a fenced-in pasture. The animals in the fence are free to graze at their leisure. But, they are not free to explore.

Years ago, I enclosed a large pasture with one long, electric wire. The horses kept breaking through the wire on their way to explore “greener” pastures. They were so intent on where they were going they never saw the wire and it didn’t shock them because they went through it so quickly. After trying several methods to persuade them to stay in the pasture I had created, I hit on an idea. I bought a roll of orange plastic ribbon and cut pieces about 2 feet long. I tied pieces of ribbon to the wire every few feet so the ends hung down in the air. Then, I led each horse to the wire until a part of its body touched the wire, sending a shock to the horse’s system. Of course, the horse jumped back away from the wire. From then on, I had a pasture full of horses, content to eat the grass in their own pasture and they never went through the wire seeking greener pastures again. The pain had established the boundaries of their existence.

Step around your fears, pain and disappointments and discover a whole new panorama of possibilities.

Plot your course, but…

“There is no doubt that the possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in life. Because it is so natural, it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is. But its outworking is tragic….” –A.W. Tozer

After receiving my certification to teach English as a second language, I began sending resumes to several schools around the world. The one school I most wanted to work with was a 150 year old prep school in the Old City of Jerusalem. If that didn’t work out, I would have been happy to receive a response from a couple of schools in Turkey, especially one that would give me the opportunity to continue taking families to Israel during the summer. Then, there is the U.S. Peace Corps which has already told me I have a job in Asia at a university if I pass their very strict medical exam. Well, as I said in my previous post, I received an email from the school in Jerusalem saying that they had considered my application, but had given the job to someone else. This Friday, a doctor called to tell me he would be very surprised if I passed the medical exam. In his opinion I would surely be rejected by the Peace Corps.

Disappointment is one of the most obvious signs that we do not know the true nature of our Father.

God does not expect us to sit around waiting for something to happen. He expects us to make plans. But He also expects that, in making our plans, we are also expecting Him (and desiring Him) to direct our steps. This is the meaning of Proverbs 16:9 which says, “A man may plot his course, but it is the Lord who directs his steps.”

Whenever I “plot my course,” whenever I “make plans,” if my plans don’t turn out and I find myself disappointed, the extent to which I am disappointed is the extent to which I am more personally vested in the outcome of my plans than is the Lord, and is also the extent to which I don’t really believe the Lord will really direct my steps for His purposes.

When any of us “plot our course” we do so with limited knowledge and only partial understanding of the positive or negative results to which our course will lead.

A wise man may chart his course; but, once charted, he gladly turns over the helm of his ship to the Captain who, alone, knows how to navigate the seas of life for him.

I am not disappointed or discouraged. I am “plotting” as Proverbs says I am to do. But, I also want very much for the Lord to direct my steps.

Are you plotting? Are you discouraged or disappointed? Do you want the Lord to take the helm of your “ship”?

It will be exciting to see what the Lord finally drops in my lap. And in yours…

Let me hear from you.