God and Gutter balls
I have not bowled for a long time but I can still recall the experience well. I am an inconsistent bowler. I have earned a score as high as 263, and as low as 63. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to this. On days when I am bowling well the gutters seem like an unnecessary afterthought. On a bad day they seem more like a life saving barrier to protect me from killing or maiming other innocent patrons of the bowling alley!
It occurs to me that God functions in a somewhat similar way in our lives. He provides “gutters” to guard against choices brought on by having a bad day in the game of life. Life is a series of choices when you come right down to it. And we are the decision makers. God in His infinite great love and mercy has given us free will so that we may make any number of choices regarding our lives. I wish that I could say that all of mine had brought God glory and made the heavenly angels sing. Alas, this is not the case. Sadly there are days when most of my decisions would result in a score of 63 or even lower!
Because God knows each of us intimately, He is also aware of ways in which each of us should be limited in some way. As such we all face certain limitations in life, such as where we live, how much income we have, how much strength and energy we possess, our life situation, and even the number of years we have upon the earth. Many of us seem to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to alter these limitations. Our tendency, when confronted by a boundary or limitation, is to try to find a way around it. How often do we stop to consider that it may be serving some purpose in our lives? God demonstrates his approval of boundaries in the way that He created the heavens and the earth. He placed boundaries between the sea and the land; between night and day; between each species in where they should live and how they should function. A fish cannot nest and fly. A bird has no gills and cannot swim. These are limitations which are for the good of these species. Does it not make sense that a loving God would place limitations on his human children as well?
Paul asked for God to remove one of his limitations. A ” thorn in the flesh” as he described it. What was God’s answer? “My grace is sufficient for thee”. Whatever the limitation Paul was facing he apparently needed it. God left it in place.
And so He does in our lives as well. Before we ask God to push back a boundary, knock down a barrier, or remove a limitation, perhaps it would be wise to consider its possible meaning and purpose. When we feel ourselves frustrated by hitting the wall with something it may be the time to prayerfully seek wisdom and guidance from above. God is certainly still in the business of moving mountains. But He is also a God of order, of boundaries, and He knows just exactly how much of each we require in our lives. Our job is to humbly submit to His will for our lives, trusting that He always has our greatest good in mind.