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Crosses and boundary stones

Do not move an ancient boundary stone
   or encroach on the fields of the fatherless,
for their Defender is strong;
   He will take up their case against you.

—Proverbs 23:10-11


"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it."

—Jesus (Mark 8:34-35)


When I thought about what God might have set for my morning reading, the latter verse was firmly in my mind. So I wasn't surprised when I saw that it was next on my reading plan. The fact that the former proverb was also up for today is yet another reminder of His specific providence for me. God has spoken. He wants me to hear Him, so much so that He will do what it takes to unstop my ears.

Having to add to my list of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and I'm choosing to move forward in the tension of knowing I may need to add one more before the walk is through. There is no lack of clarity, and I hope, by His grace, I've not pretended otherwise. The course ahead is rooted in the gospel. That story centers on a cross, on denying self, and on following. Boundary stones don't move, and woe to anyone who would move them. If I can't respect where God has placed them, then I must walk to other lands further on.

The main thing I have questions about is myself. I do know my heart, my capabilities, my weaknesses. Knowing myself in that way means having to answer "I don't know" when I know there would be great comfort in a "yes" or a "no." Honesty means questions, questions mean risks, and risks are the field of both temptation and hope (hope of the true kind, not the sickly, cheap way we often use that word as shorthand for our own wishing). The former must be weeded, the latter nurtured.

It's funny how God builds faith in us, in ways that are deliberately tailored to His creation of us and where He has us. In the same situation, His prescription for the building of one person's faith may be the provision of certainty, while another's marching orders may be to trust Him for the next step into uncertainty. I confess it's hard for me not to look enviously at how He's strengthening another's faith: "Lord, if only You had shown me this or given Me that, then I'd know I could trust You."

So yes, for me, honesty still means questions, but most of those questions are about me. Boundary stones and crosses are stark realities, non-negotiables in this journey. Joy is another reality, an encouragement to press on. God has been mightily present of late, drawing many lives closer to Himself in His love. Perhaps we who travel will walk together a while longer. Regardless, He has been, is, and will be faithful.

Comments

good. really good.