Boundaries set by God: His purpose with our lives
Ultimately, it is God who controls the boundaries in our lives, with the aim to draw us closer to Himself.
God wants to draw us closer to Himself
All of us have boundaries in our lives. We experience them geographically, in our health, financially, and in other aspects of life. For various reasons these boundaries can change within our life’s course. Sometimes we can make efforts to change them and at others times circumstances outside of our control can change them for us. It is possible to waste a significant portion of our lives wishing our boundaries were different, when it is actually far more important how we react within them.
Paul, hoping to lead the Greeks to God, spoke to them about boundaries when he saw the multitudes of idols they worshipped: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:26-27. Ultimately, it is God who controls the boundaries in our lives and His goal in doing so is to draw us closer to Himself.
What Job learned when his boundaries changed
Job was a man who experienced significant rapid changes in his life’s boundaries. With God’s promptings and permission, Satan destroyed all Job’s possessions and killed his 10 children in the same day. (See Job 1.) Amazingly, this was Job’s response: “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:20-22.
Job’s boundaries then decreased even more when God gave Satan permission to bring physical hardship upon him: “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” Job 2:7. Job’s wife and friends were convinced that Job had displeased the Lord, but Job understood to draw even closer to God in this time, so that afterwards he said: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore, I abhormyself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6. He made use of these changes in his boundaries to gain an even stronger relationship to God.
An ever-deepening relationship with God
This choice to draw closer to God in the trials of life and the boundary changes they can bring is something the heroes of faith have done throughout the ages. (See Hebrews Chapter 11.) They gladly exchanged these (perhaps naturally speaking undesirable) changes to experience “that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.
Paul also expressed how he learned to take such situations in his life: “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13.
When we look at our boundaries in this way, we will experience what Jesus said: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3. Life will become an interesting journey of experiencing God, who causes everything we go through to work together so we have an ever-deepening relationship with Him and His Son, which leads us to becoming more like Jesus. (Romans 8:28-29.) We will no longer waste time hoping for changes in temporal matters that can never really bring true satisfaction and rather experience a heavenly life that also includes genuine fellowship with others with this same goal.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.