Ever have one of those times when it doesn’t seem to matter where you read in your Bible but a certain phrase keeps jumping out at you? Did that ever happen recently!
First as I was sharing a quiet time with a friend in Psalm 139 verse 5 jumped out at me, “You hem me in behind and before, you have laid your hand upon me…” Then a few days later during my evening Bible reading, I was reading from the NET Bible and Psalm 4:1b jumped off the page at me “Though I am hemmed in, you will lead me into a wide, open place.” And then later that week as I was spending some extended time alone with the Lord, I read in Job 3:23 “Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden and whom God has hedged in?” And then in Job 19:8 “He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass and He has set darkness upon my path.”
And to be very honest, I do feel very hemmed in by my hearing loss – and not in a positive way! It feels like I’m constricted into a narrow place where all the good stuff is outside – and can that ever be frustrating!
But as I spent time with the Lord I shared my heart, “I know that isn’t what you do! You aren’t a withholder! (Psalm 84:11-12) You aren’t keeping me from things that are good, so would you please give me your perspective on this idea of being hemmed in?”
First, he brought to mind being at a friends condo on the beach. Their place is on the fifth floor, right on the water. One of my favorite things to do is sit out on the porch enjoying the view (I’ve even been known to sleep out there! ;0) But you know I wouldn’t go out there at all if there wasn’t a railing! I’d be too afraid of falling off the edge and being seriously hurt.
And then the Lord brought to mind a picture of being in Afghanistan where there are mines hidden underground all over the place. Before going out, our troops have to send someone out to test the area. Once an area has been determined safe then troops can occupy it but if they go beyond…!
Then what came to mind was a lush tropical area that looks super inviting, and in the center of it is a fenced in area where I’m standing. The Lord has determined that fenced in area to be 100% safe. Now outside the fence it may look safe, but that’s only because the mines are hidden! You better be certain I’d be thankful for that fenced in area where I can freely enjoy being outside without danger!
And I sensed the Lord saying, “Yes, through your hearing loss I’ve established boundaries for you, and they may feel constricting at times, but it’s only because I love you and want to protect you from what you can’t see that can destroy you. They aren’t going to get in the way of anything I have for you to do! But they are there because I love you! Trust me!”
Then I read Job 23:8-14, “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there and backward,but I do not perceive Him; on the left hand when He is working, I do not behold Him; He turns to the right hand, but I do not see Him. But He knows the way that I take… He will complete what He appoints for me.” Just because I can’t see God at work, doesn’t mean He isn’t! And oh the joy it brings to realize that no matter how handicapped I become God will complete what He appoints for me!
Now as I art journaled this later I didn’t end up making an enclosed fence, because I feel like while I am hemmed in, I’m not staying stationary, the Lord has me on a journey, one that will end up with what He’s appointed for me being completed!
If it was up to me I’d certainly make the route straighter! We could save so much time and get there so much quicker! But the journey isn’t just about reaching the destination, but about me being transformed in the process. And do all those twists and turns ever give ample opportunity for my faith to be stretched! And through it all, especially when it doesn’t make sense, He keeps asking, “Will you trust me?”
Am I ever thankful He’s with me every step of the way!