Friday, July 18, 2014

Hedged in

 TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 139:1-12

TO CHEW ON: "You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5

If you are like me, you don't like to feel confined. I don't like to feel physically confined. I remember fighting panic when we vacationed in our tent trailer and I slept in a narrow place between my husband, the canvas wall beside me, and the canvas roof that sloped to just inches of my face.

But David tells us that God confines us—fences us in, a hedge in front and in back, His hand on top.

If life is good we may scarcely be aware of this constriction. But when circumstances are hard, the job is unfulfilling, other pastures look greener, it is easy to try to wriggle out of the place we're in, to spring ourselves from what feels like a prison.

I read the blog of a special education teacher who wrote of this very thing in one of his 2011 advent meditations. His thoughts came out of a conversation with the furnace fixer, Mr. S., who confided in him, "I don't like my job," and then asked, "How about you? Are you thinking of leaving or are you going to stay?" Here's the rest of the story in Magical Mystical Teacher's own words:

“'I’ve thought about leaving,' I say to Mr. S, 'but where would I go?'

What I don’t tell him, because I’m not sure he’d understand, is that the only thing keeping me here—besides the children—is my sense of being placed here by God. Like the psalmist, I have found that God leads people who are willing to be led. If it weren’t for that, I’d be filling out as many applications as it takes to get out of here as quickly as possible.

However, until it is clear that I am supposed to move on, I listen for God’s instruction right where I am, confident that God will teach me the way to go, and lead me when the time is right."

Perhaps that attitude of trust in God, that willingness to stay or to go in God's time, not ours, that is the secret of living without restlessness, anger, resentment, bitterness etc., in our hedged-in place.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that Your enclosing of me is governed by Your wisdom, love, and power. Knowing that, I can live wherever You put me. Remind me of these things when I feel like complaining about my circumstances. Amen.

MORE: "Nothing is Wasted" - Jason Gray

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