I think my boundary lines have often been counted off by the Lord in sevens. So many times as I have looked back on my life in retrospect, I have seen His hand turning tides of my life in seven-year increments. For instance,
- Twenty-one years ago I was in a deep pit; each seven-year span from then to now brought about a shift of major proportions – some very painful and nearly consuming, but for the LORD…
- Another segment of seven occurred when I worked for a previous employer a number of years ago – the day I gave my notice was seven years to the day I started. That was not planned, but I noted the timing afterward with a sense that God had finished (seven means ‘completion’ or ‘fullness’) in me what he had me there to learn. I still reflect on those refining lessons at times.
- At age forty-nine I was diagnosed with breast cancer the first time. Seven sevens. If I thought major shifts had taken place before, this event was ‘the mother of all earthquakes.’
It’s as though God purposely has chosen specific markers of time to serve as boundary lines that define seasons of my life. And in all truthfulness, there have been times I wanted to move the boundary lines, doubted the fairness of the boundary lines, felt imprisoned by the boundary lines, questioned the boundary lines, and would gladly have paced off my own boundary lines, except for the fact the LORD was far too faithful to leave me to my ‘wise’ ways of thinking.
Today as I find myself traveling the less-than-scenic route of cancer returned, I ponder the boundary lines that are giving definition to my life once again. As hard as these past four weeks have been since I got plopped into the middle of this corral, I have experienced something that is a miracle in itself…
With all that is in me, I have asked the LORD for His will and not mine. In so petitioning Him, I keep finding His fingerprints and evidence of His ‘real time’ activity occurring nearly every single day. I have mourned and grieved the impending losses that breast cancer will cost me, yet in return He is giving me Himself as the portion of my inheritance. More of Him, less of me, as an exchange of my weakness, pain and sorrow for His ‘strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy.’ (Ed Corley, Berean 2010)
My heart’s ‘wellspring’ cannot but wholeheartedly echo what the Psalmist David penned in the following ‘Atonement Poem’ –
“The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support (keep fast, follow close) my lot (destiny, portion). 6The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, my heritage (inheritance, possession) is beautiful to me. 7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs (chastens, corrects, reforms, teaches) me in the night. 8I have set the LORD continually at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory (splendor) rejoices; my flesh (freshness) also will dwell (lodge, reside, rest) securely (confidently). 11You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:5-9,11 (NAS)
Though I would not have chosen, nor did I sign up for, these particular boundary lines hemming me in right now, I could not have known that confronting cancer a second time would explode within me a joy that is not of me. I am experiencing what it truly means to ‘live this life in the flesh, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.’ (Gal. 2:20) Because I asked for His will, He is living His life in me, which means I am living by His faith, His joy, His peace, His strength … and how do I know? Because all that in these circumstances does not come naturally. It is supernatural. And that’s Him, not me.
Exploring the pleasant places,