I let up on the accelerator when I spotted the two young antelope out the left window of my mini van this afternoon. Now antelope are not an unusual sight on the Wyoming prairie. Hundreds of pronghorn antelope roam freely on the gated community we currently call home. But these two had wandered outside the gate and were grazing on the grass median between the on-ramp and the highway, oblivious to the danger speeding past them at 65 mph.
I breathed a silent prayer, wishing there was some way to shoo them back under the overpass and into the safe confines behind the gate. Didn’t their mama warn them not to play near the highway? Weren’t they free to move about wherever they wished as long as they stayed within their boundaries? Didn’t they understand that the fences were there to protect them?
I don’t suppose we humans are all that different when it comes to boundaries. We truly have been given “a spacious place” (Psalm 18:19) in which to graze and roam. But the grass always looks so much greener on the other side of that fence. Surely a quick trip to check it out won’t hurt anything. And next thing you know we’re dodging semis out on a four-lane highway.
Here are a few things our Father God has been trying to teach His prone-to-wander children since the beginning of time:
1) His desire is that we experience freedom and provision under His loving care. “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden…”
2) In His wisdom He has established certain boundaries. “But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…”
3) These perimeters are for our good and for our protection. “For when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
We mistakenly equate freedom with a complete lack of restrictions. But the fences are the very things that guarantee our continued ability to enjoy our freedom. To live contentedly within the perimeters God has laid out for us in His Word, we must trust His heart towards us. If He says “No” to something, it is only because He wants to protect us and provide for us.
Temptation will call out to you from across the fence. Our culture will try to convince you that following God is too restrictive and that you will miss out on all the fun. The enemy will put his own spin on God’s instructions: “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1)
Don’t be fooled. An interstate is no place for antelope. Or people. True freedom is found in listening to God’s voice, and remaining within the protective confines of His love and care.
“Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” (Proverbs 1:33)