Being the owner and “parent/caregiver” of two adorable Bichons, I am fascinated with their behaviors. I often see an analogous relationship between their instinctive behaviors and ours as humans. Interestingly, when I put them on a leash, no matter what the length, they strain to the end of it. I tell them, “No pull!” quickly making them aware of their limits. If the leash is 4 feet, 6 feet, or 20 feet long, their reaction is the same without training and correction. They want complete freedom without restraint. So do we. It’s a primary struggle.
From the very first creation account, we have testimony that a single boundary was given by Creator God in the midst of an incredible and most perfect place – Eden. Adam and Eve had no labor, no toil, no sweat … just the beauty of the Garden God had placed them in with provision and comfort. Ahhhh … such sweet contentment. But, wait. That’s not how the story goes.
Given only one limitation, and that given for their good, the humans decided that God really couldn’t have meant what He said. Surely not, the Tempter said! The Evil One was lurking about ready to sell deception to these first human children. He also had chafed at his role of being an angelic being, desiring to be God himself. Forever being dismissed from his original heavenly purpose, he has been up to no good ever since. “Why,” he said to Eve, “God merely wants to deny you the gift of being like Him, the ability to know good and evil.” Eve reasoned that this made sense: God wanted to deny them that delicious and beautiful fruit to protect His authority and omnipotence. Wrong.
God had higher purposes for his instructions. Not only had He created these human children with free will to choose, but He also did not want them to live forever in sin. He was protecting them from their own potential wrong choices. Oh, but they chafed against that simple restraint. They tugged at the proverbial leash until they broke free and had their way. Momentary freedom ultimately led to pain, sorrow, and death.
Why, oh why, do we never see boundaries and limits as a gift, for our good and protection? When you say, “God wouldn’t give me THIS situation (you name it) if He didn’t think I could handle it,” are you sure He gave it to you? Or did you break the restraint to have your way instead of His highest and best? Or sometimes, it could be someone else’s sin that produced chaos in your life. Or it could be the condition of the fallen world splashing upon you, a child of God. Father God will see you through the storm, no matter the cause because God is love. Yet, should we examine the potential of our own failure to walk with Him before we assign God the blame?
Creator of the Universe, Father God, is also Omniscient – One who knows our choices before we do. Yes, He is also a loving, forgiving Father even when we foil His best plans for our lives. When we turn from our wayward paths, He redeems our mistakes and even uses them to bless us … when we repent.
So, if you don’t want to experience a U-turn, or feel that loving tug of the Father’s “leash,” choose wisely. If Father God has clearly expressed His will in His “Owner’s Manual,” the Bible, you can count the cost in advance by doing your own thing, by breaking free from His wisdom and guidance. “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you,” Deuteronomy 8:5 (NIV).
Somehow the common expression, “Everything happens for a reason” omits an important truth. God has given us free will, and when we ignore His protective plans for living a healthy life, there are consequences. He does correct us just as I do, in love, to protect my precious pets. He will remind us … “No pull!” … as we strain against the “leash” He has provided to help us navigate. It’s our job to listen and follow. But, given all of the Providential Wisdom at your discretion, it IS always still your choice. You decide.
If only we would learn to learn to appreciate & rely upon God’s leash, our lives would be much more peaceful & full of joy!