Pushing the Limits

You showed me my heart today. Funny how clearly I could see it… when, at the time, I was driving through a dense fog.

I was on my way to Tampa for my second six-month check-up… this one, with the oncologist. The fog was so thick, I could hardly see the road ahead of me.

I was listening to a song  by Steve Fry (sung by Steve Green) entitled, “Oh, I Want to Know You More.” I can still hear the words of the chorus:

“Oh, I want to know You more! Deep within my soul, I want to know You. Oh, I want to know You! To feel Your heart and know Your mind, looking in Your eyes stirs up within me cries that say I want to know You. Oh, I want to know You more!”

It was the eighth song on the CD I was playing. Maybe it took the other seven songs to till the hard soil in my heart so the “seed” You had planted could finally sprout.

All of a sudden, I noticed the speed I was travelling: 58 or 59 in a 55 miles-per-hour zone. Fast enough to “stretch” the boundaries that might “hinder” me, but not fast enough to “get caught” if I crossed paths with The Authorities.

In that instant, I realized that’s how I live a lot of my life — stretching against (“flirting” with, crossing over) boundaries I know You have set for me, but not so much that You would really care… right?

Except that Your standard is way above ours… and You put this pesky thing called “conscience” inside us, so we can’t escape the obvious… even when we want to.

“Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:48)

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”  (James 4:17)

I reset my cruise control to the posted speed limit. Other cars went flying past me… some, “stretching” the boundaries like I had been doing… others, in apparent “warp drive” (clearly oblivious to even the existence of speed limits).

I felt totally out of place… out of pace, as if I was crawling. It didn’t matter what the posted speed limit was; whether it was 35, 45, 55, 65 or 70, I always felt I was crawling if I wasn’t exceeding the limit. My internal “clock” has been set to speed just outside of the boundaries.

Today, I knew we were talking about more than speed limits. Actually, today You were talking… I was listening.

Out of pace with the other “speedsters” on the road? Who was I trying to “keep pace” with anyway?

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  (Colossians 3:23)

You whispered to me about what is behind my tendence to “exceed the limits.” I didn’t really like what I heard: My Ways.  My Wants.  My “Loves.”  My Lusts.  My Self.

Translation?  Rebellion against You, Lord.

Oh, Father… Please forgive me!  Oh, Abba… Thank You that You have… that You do… that You will.

Funny. It was at about this time that the fog cleared. I mean, really!!! The rest of my trip to Moffitt was in bright sunshine, under clear blue skies.

Bright SONSHINE.  There’s nothing like it!!!

Time to reset my internal “clock.”

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful…

I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:1-2,5)

OK… maybe the metaphor of speeding cars doesn’t quite mesh with pruning branches. But isn’t the heart of it remaining in You, Lord?

Your life on earth, Jesus, was never characterized by speed or frenzied activity. Instead, it was all about patience, peace, passion… and power.

So… by remaining in You, inside the boundaries You so lovingly set, I can also have a life characterized by patience, peace, passion and power?!

What am I waiting for???

Yes, Lord… I know that, apart from You, I can do nothing. Yet I am also so thankful to know that with You — because of You — I cannot fail!!!

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”  (Hebrews 10:23)


Abba’s Girl


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